Florida businessman paid for state senator's visit to Syria

AP News
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Posted: May 04, 2016 11:30 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A news report says that a Florida businessman paid for Virginia state Sen. Dick Black's trip to Syria last week.

The Washington Post reports (https://goo.gl/qLdL1s) that Tampa-area gasoline wholesaler Paul Jallo said Tuesday he paid for Black's travel to the war-torn nation.

Jallo, a Syrian-born Christian, estimates the trip cost $10,000.

While in Syria, Black met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and said the U.S. should be more supportive of his government.

Black is an outspoken social conservative and part-time state senator who has no role in official U.S. foreign policy.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said Assad has lost the legitimacy to rule.

Syria's five year civil war began in 2011 as an uprising against Assad. The United Nations says more than 250,000 people have died.