Asserting that the only way to end the civil war in Syria was through a legitimate, inclusive government there, US President Barack Obama has said that he hopes Russia would soon realise it can’t “buy peace” in the war-torn country through air strikes.
Obama’s statement comes in the backdrop of Moscow continuing to bomb ISIS targets in Syria.
“(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin believes that if he continues to do what he’s been doing over the last five years — and that is prop up the Assad regime — that the problem will be solved. Our belief is, is that we have to go after ISIL and violent extremist groups,” Obama told reporters at a White House news conference yesterday.
“But the magnet that the civil war there is serving in bringing in foreign fighters and recruiting people to this extremist cause will only go away if we’re able to get a political track and a legitimate, inclusive government inside of Syria,” he said.
So there’s no meeting of the minds in terms of strategy between the US and Russia, Obama said.
“But my hope is, is that as we continue to have these conversations, and as I suspect Russia starts realising that they’re not going to be able to bomb their way to a peaceful situation inside of Syria, that we’ll be able to make progress on that front,” the US President said.
The only understanding that the US has with Russia is how do they de-conflict in the event that their planes might be occupying similar space over Syrian skies.
“So in that sense, we’ve arrived at an understanding and some channels for communications. Where we will continue to differ is in the basic set of principles and strategies we’re pursuing inside of Syria,” he said.