>> In a country devastated by war, the election of Donald Trump as US President has come as welcome news to the Syrian government. President Barack Obama had called on Assad to leave power. Damascus now hopes for a new approach from the new American President. I'm Tom Perry, Reuters' Bureau Chief in Beirut.
While it's important to note that Donald Trump has yet to articulate a clear policy on Syria, he has struck a different a different tone to Obama on certain key issues. Significantly, Trump has suggested that it might be possible to cooperate with Russia, Assad's main ally, in the fight against Islamic State.
Trump has also questioned the wisdom of arming the Syrian rebel groups that are fighting Assad, another part of US policy. Now some members of the Syrian opposition are worried by this, but others note that Obama's policy was in itself a great disappointment. They note Trump's aversion to Iran, Assad's other main ally, and hope that US policy under Trump may yet benefit them.
Assad has yet to comment on the result of the US election, but one of his top advisors has been quoted as saying that the Syrian government is ready to cooperate with the United States if US policy is in line with Syrian government aspirations. Separately, a senior official in the military alliance that is fighting in support of Assad has told Reuters that the result is positive for Damascus and its allies.
At the very least, they believe that it has saved them from the risk of a more interventionist Clinton administration.