Syria's Assad: Trump can be our natural ally

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a Portuguese television channel in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 15, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian state television that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could become a natural ally to Damascus if he shows he is sincere about fighting terrorism.

“If Trump can genuinely fight against terrorism, he can be our natural ally,” Assad, speaking through an interpreter, said in the interview which was broadcast on Wednesday.

Assad said he was encouraged by Trump’s declarations during the election campaign about fighting violent Islamists and not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. But it was unclear if Trump would carry through on those promises once in office, Assad said.

Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Jack Stubbs