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Iran Press TV

Russia strikes out of weakness in Syria: US

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:18AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin's military campaign in Syria is an act of weakness and Moscow is spending resources "it doesn't have" to keep his Syrian ally in power, says US President Barack Obama.

"The fact that they [Russians] had to do this is not an indication of strength, it's an indication that their strategy did not work," Obama told CBS's 60 Minutes, on Sunday.

He added that Putin is running his "economy into the ground" in a bid to "prop up" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who, he said, was on the brink of an "imminent collapse."

"You don't think that Mr. Putin would've preferred having Mr. Assad be able to solve this problem without him having to send a bunch of pilots and money that they don't have," he asked.

"Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally," Obama further noted.

'US failed in Syria'

On his own strategies in Syria, namely the $500 million "train-and-equip" program aimed to produce the so-called "moderate" militants, Obama admitted that Washington had failed to create a proxy force in the Arab country.

"Look, there's no doubt that it did not work," he noted, adding elsewhere in his interview that "I've been skeptical from the get-go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria."

Earlier on Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also admitted that he "wasn't happy with the early efforts" of the program, "so we have devised a number of different approaches."

Initially, the program was supposed to train more than 5,000 militants each year, but it fell flat by producing only "four or five" militants according to US military officials.

However, Obama said he was planning to push ahead with a double plan for Syria, where he would set out "to support moderate opposition" while convincing Iran and Russia "to put pressure on Assad for a transition."

He further noted that it would be an "illusion" to think the US is able to solve the Syrian conflict alone and in the short run.

Obama went on to claim that for the Syrian conflict to reach a peaceful end, all regional players need to realize that "there needs to be a new government" other than the current administration in the country.

"The solution that we're going to have inside of Syria is ultimately going to depend not on the United States putting in a bunch of troops there, resolving the underlying crisis is going to be something that requires ultimately the key players there to recognize that there has to be a transition to new government. And, in the absence of that, it's not going to work," he pointed out.

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