Opinion: Why many Syrians would support Donald Trump

Trump lays out his plan to fight ISIS
Trump lays out his plan to fight ISIS


    Trump lays out his plan to fight ISIS


Trump lays out his plan to fight ISIS 05:45

Story highlights

  • Saleh: Many Syrians would support Trump's call for closer ties with Russia in fight against ISIS
  • Saleh: Clinton is associated with Obama, who many Syrians blame for country's current ills

Latakia, Syria (CNN)Editor's Note: Nai Saleh lives in government-controlled Latakia in northwest Syria. Saleh writes under a pseudonym out of concerns for her safety. Saleh is a civil engineer and a journalist who contributes to Good Morning Syria. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

The rest of the world may be preoccupied with the US election, but in the government-controlled coastal areas of Syria, most people are waiting impatiently to see an end to the war raging just a few kilometers away.
    It doesn't make a huge difference to Syrians here if there's a new administration in the White House, Democrat or Republican.
    That was the overall impression here, even before Donald Trump was in the picture. US politics don't concern Syrians much, even if many here believe Trump would align himself with the regime of Bashar al-Assad to strike at Islamic terror groups.
    But given the desire of many for a political settlement to the war, and taking into consideration what Trump said during his speech Monday -- about the possibility of the US working with Russia to strike at ISIS in Syria -- the vast majority of Syrians will seriously be counting on Trump.
    The coast of Syria is more secular than many parts of the country -- and many here support the Syrian President. As they follow the US election like they would a play on TV, they feel hostility from Hillary Clinton, who has continuously called for Assad's removal and who is seen as having close ties to the opposition.
    Minority groups will also see Trump's speech -- in which he condemned ISIS' "campaign of genocide" against ethnic minorities -- as a glimmer of hope in a world where ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra threaten their very existence.
    But if coastal Syrians agree with Trump on many points, they will not be on the same page with him when it comes to his opinions on Iran and Hezbollah.
    Trump called Iran the "world's biggest sponsor of state terrorism," and said he would starve funding for the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. But Iran is one of the Syrian government's strongest allies -- and Hezbollah is fighting alongside regime forces in the war against "terrorists," as they are referred to by locals.
    Obviously Syrians don't have any influence over the US election, and many will not care whether it's a Republican or Democrat who wins, much less understand the difference between the two parties.
    But they will certainly be watching for any changes in the way the next US president will deal with the war and the refugee crisis -- and whether the next White House will help eliminate ISIS and keep Assad in power.
    Maybe it is this hope that has pushed many Syrians to support Trump. He's the newest face in US politics -- and his opponent is associated with Barack Obama, who today is blamed by many pro-Assad Syrians for supporting rebels and feeding terrorism, helping to create ISIS, and then backing them up to the point where they now control vast areas of Syria and Iraq.