Republican Virginia legislator defends Syrian president

National
President Bashar Al Assad

401808 02: President Bashar Al Assad meets with Lebanese leaders March 3, 2002 at the Lebanese presidential palace outside Beirut, Lebanon. It is the first visit by a Syrian leader to Lebanon in 27 years and the first official Syrian visit to Beirut in more than 50 years even though Syria maintains 25,000 troops in […]

RICHMOND, Va. — A Republican lawmaker’s defense of Syrian president Bashar Assad from the floor of the Virginia Senate has drawn condemnation from Democrats.

The Washington Post reports state Sen. Richard H. Black said in his 20-minute speech Wednesday that Assad might have been framed for a suspected chemical attack last weekend on a rebel-held town near Damascus, which reports say killed at least 40 people. Black said, “it is not entirely clear that there was an attack.”

Black previously espoused support for Assad, viewing him as a buffer against the Islamic State group. He flew to Damascus for a sit-down with him in 2016.

The Democratic Party of Virginia criticized the Loudoun Republican for using a special session on Medicaid to “mock Assad’s latest chemical atrocity as a ‘false flag’ attack.”

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