Virginia Democrats on Wednesday criticized state Sen. Richard Black, R-Loudoun County, for writing a letter praising Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Washington Post reports the two-page letter dated April 1 from 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, which praises Syrian forces for protecting minority Christians and Jews, comes amid 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 has killed more than 140,000 people.
Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, said, “It is bizarre that state Senator Dick Black would send a letter to the president of Syria.”
He said Assad is “a man who has presided over terrible massacres and atrocities, including gas attacks that killed hundreds of his own people.”
Black, who enlisted in the Marines in 1963, flew 269 combat helicopter missions in Vietnam, according to his campaign website.