Trump Is 'The Best American President,' Syrian Leader Bashar al-Assad Says: 'What Do We Want More than a Transparent Foe?'

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has praised President Donald Trump as America's best commander in chief, though not for reasons that would encourage Americans.

Assad made the comments during an interview broadcast on Syrian state television. In a clip tweeted out by NBC News, the dictator explained that Trump's unusual level of honesty is beneficial for America's adversaries, including the Assad regime.

He told the interviewer that his comments "might seem strange," but nonetheless said Trump is "the best American president."

"Why? Not because his policies are good," Assad added. "But because he's the most transparent president."

"All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Peace Prize and appear as a defender of human rights, and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles," he claimed.

"But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others."

Assad remains in control of Syria despite the country's devastating civil war, which began in 2011 when he ordered a brutal crackdown on protesters demanding democratic reforms.

The dictator has overseen a vast range of war crimes in the intervening years, including indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and mass disappearances of prisoners and dissidents. He also also ordered gas attacks on civilian areas and denied responsibility, instead blaming anti-government rebels.

But backed by his Russian and Iranian allies, Assad has been able to establish control over much of the country. In October, Trump's erratic foreign policy handed him a priceless win—control over much of the eastern part of the country that had been held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The SDF prosecuted much of the war against the Islamic State militant group in Syria. U.S. troops were deployed alongside SDF units, but Trump's sudden decision to withdraw them left the SDF alone to face a Turkish invasion to the north.

Out of options, the SDF turned to Assad for help, agreeing to submit to the government in Damascus and hand over key cities and areas to regime and Russian forces.

Some U.S. forces are staying behind, deployed to guard the oil fields in the east of Syria. Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed last month that these troops would be supported by armored vehicles.

Assad said Trump's decision to protect the oil fields, but not his SDF allies, spoke to the true nature of U.S. foreign policy. "Trump speaks with transparency to say, 'We want the oil.' This is the reality of American politics since the Second World War at least," he suggested.

"'We want to get rid of this person, we want to provide a service in return for money,'" Assad continued. "This is the reality of American politics. What do we want more than a transparent foe?"

Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Syria, foreign policy
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives an exclusive interview to AFP in the capital Damascus on February 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images/Getty