US congresswoman meets with Assad
US congress woman, Tulsi Gabbard. (AFP/File)
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Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday said she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a recent fact-finding trip to the region.
"Originally, I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I felt it was important to take it. I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much suffering," Gabbard said in a statement.
No details of her meeting with the Syrian strongman were disclosed.
Gabbard, a congresswoman for Hawaii, said she had travelled to Damascus and Aleppo in Syria as well as Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon "to see and hear firsthand the impact of the war in Syria directly from the Syrian people."
The congresswoman said she also met with religious leaders, humanitarian workers, students and small business owners.
She said she "heard stories of suffering, pain, courage and hope from people all across the country."
"I return to Washington, DC with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government," Gabbard asserted.
Gabbard opposed former president Barack Obama's Syria policy.
“The US must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people. The US and other countries fuelling this war must stop immediately. We must allow the Syrian people to try to recover from this terrible war.”
"From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the US has waged wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS," she added.