Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said in an interview on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is "keeping things in check" in the war-torn country.
The conflict in Syria, which has been ongoing for four-and-a-half years, has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, and created a refugee crisis in the region. Trump has said he wants to work with Russia on Syria to defeat ISIS and opposes overthrowing Assad.
Appearing on the John Fredericks Show, Lewandowski, defending Trump's position, said, "He is very, very bad individual, but he is an individual who, in his country, is keeping things in check because he is such a bad guy they're afraid of him."
A September Time article noted Assad controlled only 25% of Syrian territory.
Lewandowski said ISIS would only become stronger if Assad is removed from power, adding that the U.S. government was funneling money to a number of rebel groups, with none of them being a clear successor to Assad.
In the interview Lewandowski declared Trump a prophet on foreign policy.
"You have someone with Donald Trump who has vision to predict what will happen in the future because he's done it so many times," he said. "He predicted Osama bin Laden in one of his books in the early 2000s and that he would be a major factor and what he's saying here is very clear: if Russia wants to go and bomb the hell out of ISIS, why would we not want that to happen. We don't even know – so many of these elected officials say, 'well if we go and do that we're gonna go destabilize Syria and we're gonna put somebody else in and we're gonna get get rid of Assad.' Who? Who is the question."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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