Obama points finger at Russia over jet shoot-down by Turkey

President Obama pointed the finger at Russia over its warplane being shot down by Turkey, suggesting the incident might not have happened if Moscow were more concerned with hitting ISIS targets than moderate opposition to Syria’s Bashar Assad – a campaign that puts them dangerously close to the Turkish border.


The president, speaking Tuesday alongside visiting French President Francois Hollande in Washington, stressed that officials are still gathering details on the international incident.


He and Hollande both said they want to prevent an “escalation,” as Obama urged the Russians and Turks to talk to one another.


But Obama also suggested the nature of Russia’s air campaign is contributing to such confrontations.


“I do think that this points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations,” Obama said. “In the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border, and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries.”


He said that if Russia directed its efforts toward the Islamic State, “some of those conflicts, or potentials for mistakes or escalation, are less likely to occur.”


Obama also said Turkey “has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.”


The French president arrived in Washington 11 days after the Paris terror attacks. Part of the purpose of the trip was to urge Obama to work with Russia to build a new coalition to fight the extremists.


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