A US Democrat Congresswoman, who met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus during the country's devastating civil war, has formally announced she will run for president in 2020.
Tulsi Gabbard has been criticised for being sympathetic to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, which has seen her clash with a number of fellow Democrats.
She announced her candidacy for the presidential elections in Hawaii, a state she represents in Congress, saying she would stand up to "powerful, self-serving politicians and greedy corporations".
"Join me in putting this spirit of service above self at the forefront and stand up against the forces of greed and corruption," she said, according to Reuters.
Gabbard has previously backed left-winger Bernie Sanders, when he competed against Hillary Clinton to represent the Democrats in the 2016 presidency race, which was eventually won by Donald Trump.
She is viewed as an unlikely candidate for the US presidency due to her divisive views on American foreign policy.
Gabbard secretly met with Assad in 2017, as the Syrian regime launched bloody offensives on opposition areas killing thousands of civilians.
She also once declared that the US should not oppose Russian bombing of "al-Nusra", a former al-Qaeda affiliate. Russian air strikes have also killed thousands of Syrian civilians.
She has strongly opposed US intervention in Syria, and expressed sceptism that the regime was responsible for chemical attacks on opposition areas, which led to American airstrikes.
Fellow Democrats have slammed Gabbard as "a disgrace" for her views on Syria and said she is unfit for Congress.
Her Palestinian-American campaign manager Rania Batrice was set to leave her post following a confusing few weeks about her planned presidency bid.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.