WATCH

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Urges U.S. to End Support of 'Terrorists' in Syria After Meeting Assad

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tells Jake Tapper the Syrian conflict is 'a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida and the Syrian government.'

Rep. Gabbard on meeting with Assad
Rep. Gabbard on meeting with Assad. Screen grab/CNN

Democratic U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-H) said on Wednesday she met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria and discussed the possibility of achieving peace.

In an interview with CNN, the Hawaii Democrat said that that during her four-day visit in Syria she wanted to get a first-hand view of the suffering of the Syrian people.

She said she met with Assad because "we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that's exactly what we talked about."

CNN

Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, spoke out against the Democratic Obama administration's policy of supporting the moderate opposition against Assad in Syria's six-year-old civil war.

"Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same,” Gabbard told Jake Tapper, describing the Syrian conflict as “a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government."

The U.S. began training Syrian rebels in 2015. According to Foreign Policy, "The original $500 million training program began in the spring of 2015 with talk of fielding a force of about 5,000 rebels by the  end of the year, but due to desertions and attacks by other rebel groups produced only about five trained fighters before being shut down in October."

Republican President Donald Trump indicated during the 2016 presidential campaign that he could abandon the rebels to focus on fighting Islamic State, which controls territory in parts of Syria.