Obama vows to not engage in Syria ‘proxy war’

Obama said U.S. military engagement will not solve political problems and Russia’s intervention in Syria is a ‘recipe for disaster’

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U.S. President Barack Obama stressed Friday that Russia and the United States would not engage in a "proxy war" due to their different positions on the brutal Syrian civil war.

"We're going to continue to have tensions. And we're going to continue to have differences," Obama told a press conference. "But we're not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia."

Obama said the U.S. is “clear on sticking to” its policy in Syria, citing President Bashar al-Assad as the “problem.”

“No amount of U.S. military engagement will solve political problems,” he asserted.

He also warned Assad’s allies Russia and Iran that they will be “struck quagmire if they prop up” the embattled Syrian leader.

Russia’s military engagement in Syria in support of Assad is a “recipe for disaster,” Obama added. However, he said Washington could still work with Moscow on reducing tensions.

Obama also condemned Russia’s policy in Syria, saying it is “driving moderate opposition underground” and “strengthening” Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Putin “doesn’t distinguish between ISIL and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go,” Obama told reporters, using another acronym for ISIS. “From their perspective. They’re all terrorists, and that’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Initially Russia was criticized for not targeting ISIS in Syria but areas held by more moderate rebels. However Russian jets struck ISIS targets on Friday as it continued with its raids on the third day of its intervention in the war-torn country.

“Six strikes were conducted on targets of the ISIS terrorist group in 14 flights by Sukhoi Su-34, Sukhoi Su-24M and Sukhoi Su-25 jets,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

Obama also said Putin had to go into Syria out of “weakness,” and that the U.S. has “the rest of the world” as an ally as opposed to Russia which has only Assad and Iran.

(With AFP)

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