Assad invited Russia as Syrian leader 'losing control'

‘You can’t continue to double down on a strategy that is doomed to failure,’ Obama says of Russia's Syria policy.

Assad invited Russia as Syrian leader 'losing control'

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad invited increased Russian support because the embattled leader is steadily losing control of his country, President Barack Obama said Friday.

“It appears now that Assad is worried enough now that he is inviting Russian advisors in and Russian equipment in,” Obama said during a town hall meeting with armed service members at Fort Meade.

“We are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can’t continue to double down on a strategy that is doomed to failure,” he added.

Obama emphasized that despite the increased Russian presence, Washington would not change course on its anti-ISIL operations inside Syria and Iraq.

Russia has long been a principal supporter of Assad, providing the Syrian president with arms and funding during the country’s conflict, which is nearing its fifth year. 

Moscow views Assad as being the best bet against extremist groups in Syria, including ISIL.

In a warning to Moscow, Obama said that continuing to prop up Assad could backfire by reigniting violence with Islamist militants inside Russia.

“The Russians are going to have to start getting a little smarter than they have been, because they are threatened in many ways more than we are by ISIL. They’ve got large Muslim populations that historically have caused a lot of problems inside of Russia and the strategy that they’re pursuing right now of doubling down on Assad I think is a big mistake,” Obama said.

Still, he added that the anti-ISIL fight is “an area potentially of converging interests”. 

Both Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to attend this month’s UN General Assembly in New York, but its unclear if the leaders will meet.

More than 250,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, and millions more have been displaced.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Eylül 2015, 09:46