Assad calls Trump's ISIS focus 'promising'

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Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s focus on eradicating the Islamic State from the Middle East was promising, but too early to expect "practical steps."

Assad was quoted by the SANA news agency as saying, "I believe this is promising but we have to wait and it's too early to expect anything practical."

Critics would argue Assad's murderous regime has never taken a "practical" approach to eliminating ISIS, instead killing tens of thousands of his own innocent citizens during his country's bloody civil war.

Trump has previously hinted at the possibility of aligning with Assad, which would amount to a drastic reversal from years of the Obama administration calls for Assad’s ouster.

Trump has made defeating ISIS one of his core elements to his presidency and signed an executive order asking the Pentagon, the joint chiefs of staff and other agencies to submit a plan on how to defeat the terror group within the month.

Widespread evidence of torture, chemical weapons attacks and even war crimes by Assad's forces had made a partnership infeasible to Obama and most of America's foreign policy establishment.

Trump has said Assad may be "bad" but the rebels fighting to topple him "could be worse." He has said the U.S. has no idea who its allies in the country are and has appeared most concerned about containing the exodus of Syrian refugees, fearing they'll spread terrorism.

Assad had previously suggested the U.S. and Syria could be "natural allies."

Assad added in his press conference that a U.S.-Russia alliance in the Middle East could bring positive repercussions.

Trump has raised the possibility of a broad new U.S. partnership with Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian Russia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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