RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia state senator has made a second trip to Syria to voice support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Syria's state-run news agency reported Wednesday that Dick Black returned to Damascus to offer praise for Syria's efforts at fighting terrorism.

Black is a part-time state senator and an outspoken social conservative.

He has frequently praised the Assad government while criticizing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

The U.S. has twice struck Syrian military installations in response to alleged poison gas attacks. The Syrian government denies ever using chemical weapons during its seven-year-long civil war.

Black visited Syria in 2016 where he met with Assad government officials and promised to advocate for better relationships between Assad and the U.S.