DNI Coats Says Syria's Assad Will 'Seek to Avoid Conflict With Israel and Turkey'

By Susan Jones | January 29, 2019 | 12:19 PM EST

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Jan. 29, 2019. (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - At hearing Tuesday on worldwide threats facing the United States, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will seek to "avoid conflict" with two of America's allies as he consolidates power in Syria and continues to "re-take territory" from what remains of ISIS.

This is the same dictator that the Obama administration tried to topple.

"In the Middle East, President Bashar al-Assad has largely defeated the opposition and is now seeking to regain control over all of the Syrian territory," Coats told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The remaining pockets of ISIS and opposition fighters will continue, we agree -- we assess, to stoke violence as we have seen in incidents happening in the Idlib province of Syria. The regime will focus on re-taking territory while seeking to avoid conflict with Israel and Turkey."

So, according to Coats, Assad will continue to fight ISIS, America’s enemy, while leaving America’s allies alone.

President Barack Obama in 2011 called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, to allow the Syrian people to make what he called a "peaceful transition to democracy."

"We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way," Obama said at the time.

Two years later, in August 2013, President Obama announced that, "after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention," Obama promised. "We would not put boots on the ground."

But that's exactly what did happen.

In 2015, Obama sent around 50 Special Forces operators into Syria, and a year later, he announced he was authorizing the deployment of 250 troops to that country to put pressure on the Assad regime, which is not seen as a threat to Israel or Turkey, in Coats's estimation, as ISIS or Iran would be.

This past December, President Trump announced that it's time for U.S. troops to leave Syria because "we have won against ISIS. We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly."

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