Syrian nun says Assad is ‘not a dictator’ On March 29 she received the International Woman of Courage Award from first lady Melania Trump.

Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh of the Salesian Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who runs a nursery school in Damascus, Syria, told reporters Tuesday that she “likes” the Syrian strongman, and that he’s been very helpful and protective of Christians in the country.

Tahhan received the “International Woman of Courage Award” from the first lady Melania Trump on March 29 in Washington. She was nominated to receive it by the U.S. embassy to the Vatican, and spoke at an event sponsored by the embassy on Tuesday.

Tahhan also said she believes there’s no truth to the reports that it was al-Assad who used Sarin gas to target a civilian population last week, an allegation which prompted the Trump administration to bomb a military base in Syria.

The 13 winners of the award had been decided under the Obama administration, but held up until Rex Tillerson, current Secretary of State, approved them.

Tahhan described Trump’s decision to bomb the Shayrat Air Base, the alleged source of the chemical attack, as “a step back from peace.”

“Every time we say there is hope for peace, let’s move forward, something happens to set us back. The situation is ugly now,” Tahhan said, referring to Trump’s decision to bomb government military installations.

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