US President-elect Donald Trump would abandon the Obama administration's policy in Syria of supporting 'moderate' opposition groups to one focused on combating Da'esh/Islamic State, stressing defeat of the extremist group rather than ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"I've had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria," Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Saturday.
His comments suggest that once the billionaire businessman begins overseeing both the public support for the opposition groups, and a far larger covert effort run by the Central Intelligence Agency, he may wind down or abandon the effort.
"My attitude was you're fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria," he continued.
"Now we're backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are."
He warned that if the conflict escalates to the point of the US attacking Assad, "we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria."
Russian officials are hoping for close ties with Trump's administration. A spokesperson for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said this week that the two men are "very much alike."
Putin has been a very firm supporter of the idea of good relationship between our countries, because we do carry a joint responsibility for strategic stability in the world, strategic security, said Peskov, adding that Russia and the US must join together to deal with the "very, very dangerous challenge of global terrorism."
Trump has praised Putin as a strong leader.