U.S. President Barack Obama has warned Russian leaders that they cannot “bomb their way to a peaceful solution” in Syria.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said the Syrian civil war was a magnet for extremists and could only end with a political solution leading to a new inclusive government.
“There’s no meeting of the minds in terms of strategy,” he said, which reflected a fundamental difference with President Vladimir Putin over the continuing rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
“President Putin believes if he continues to do what he has been doing over the last five years, and that is to prop up the Assad regime, that the problem will be solved.”
Obama said he hoped there could be progress if talks among the parties continued and “Russia starts realizing that they are not going to be able to bomb their way to a peaceful situation inside of Syria.”
Obama said Iran was “just doing more of what they have been doing for the last five years, as is Russia.”
“Their basic theory on how to solve Syria has not worked.”
“Now the Russians have come in and Iran is going to send more people…but it’s also not going to work because they are trying to support a regime that in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people is not legitimate.”
During a speech at Indiana University, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “Syria will crumble under the weight of a prolonged war. Putin does not have a simple, easy track here. This is not a situation where he’s just moved in and taken over and everybody says, “Oh, wow, he’s doing something we couldn’t.” No, he’s not. He is not going to be able to stop the war by being there. It could be ISIL that actually winds up gaining in that process, and that would be absurd, it would be a farce, and I think President Putin understands that.
“It remains to be seen what their full strategy is in Syria. … If Russia is there to go after ISIL, and to in fact help prevent the takeover of the country and to secure a political track that could result in the end of the war, that could be positive,” he added.
If Russia is there to uphold Assad, and fake it with respect to the extremists and terrorists, that’s a serious problem. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)