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Assad says yet to see real steps from Trump on Isil

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BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he yet to see “anything concrete” from US President Donald Trump over his vow to defeat Islamic State and called US forces deployed in Syria “invaders” because they were there without government permission.

Assad, in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix, said “in theory” he still saw scope for cooperation with Trump though practically nothing had happened in this regard.

Assad said Trump’s campaign pledge to prioritise the defeat of Islamic State had been “a promising approach” but added: “We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric.”

Assad dismissed the US-backed military campaign against Islamic State in Syria as “only a few raids” he said had been conducted locally. “We have hopes that this administration ... is going to implement what we have heard,” he added.

Asked about a deployment of US forces near the northern city of Manbij, Assad said: “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation... are invaders.”

“We don’t think this is going to help”.

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