Trump: Assad and Russia are attacking Islamic State

Trump: Assad and Russia are attacking Islamic State
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not pictured) speaks during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Republican Donald Trump publicly broke with his running mate, Mike Pence, on how to deal with the civil war in Syria in comments during Sunday’s U.S. presidential debate that exposed further tensions within their campaign.

“He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree,” Trump said in response to a question from a moderator about comments by Pence that the United States should be ready to use force against Syrian military targets under the command of President Bashar al-Assad.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS,” the Republican presidential nominee said in his debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, referring to Islamic State, the insurgent group fighting Assad’s forces.

Pence in his debate last week with Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, appeared to break ranks with Trump, when he denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for his interference in Syria’s civil war and support for Assad.

“The small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States,” Pence said.

Russian warplanes have been striking Islamic State positions in Syria in support of Assad’s government.

Clinton has criticized Trump, who has praised Putin, as being too cozy with the Russian leader.

After the debate on Sunday, Pence tweeted: Congrats to my running mate @realDonaldTrump on a big debate win!” adding he was “proud to stand with you.”

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