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Virginia State Sen. Pens Letter Praising Syrian President Assad

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Photo credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Photo credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — A Virginia state senator has sent a letter praising Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Washington Post reports the two-page letter dated April 1 from Virginia state Sen. Richard Black was posted on the Syrian president’s Facebook page Sunday. In it, Black also praises the Syrian army for fighting against forces Black writes “are dominated by our arch-enemy al-Qaeda.”

Black’s letter comes in the midst of Syria’s three-year civil war. President Barack Obama in 2011 called on Assad to step down and has supported rebels seeking to oust Assad in the civil war that activists say has killed more than 140,000 people.

Obama said Wednesday that he’ll work with Congress to increase support for members of the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and to Assad.

Obama is calling on Congress to support a $5 billion counterterrorism fund that would help support Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. All those countries have Syrian refugees and they’re confronting terrorists working across Syria’s borders.

Obama also used a speech Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy to reaffirm his decision not to put American troops in the middle of the Syrian civil war.

The conflict is now in its fourth year. More than 162,000 people have been killed and one-third of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million has been displaced.

Black, a Republican from Loudoun County, served in the state house from 1998 to 2006. He has been a member of the state senate since 2012.

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(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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