Obama tells ’60 Minutes’ he’s going to stay the course on Syria

President Obama indicated in an interview with “60 Minutes” that he isn’t mulling over any major changes to his approach to Syria following the failure of his administration’s plan to train more than 5,000 moderate rebels and the unexpected emergence of Russia as a major military player in the conflict.


Obama has been heavily criticized in recent months as lacking a strategy to stem Syria’s chaos and defeat Islamic State militants. He made clear, though, that his plans for Syria were guided by an overriding goal: He wants to keep the United States from becoming more deeply involved militarily in a place where he believes that the American force offers no viable, long-term solutions.


“We are prepared to work both diplomatically and where we can to support moderate opposition that can help convince the Russians and Iranians to put pressure on Assad for a transition,” Obama told “60 Minutes” in the interview, which was scheduled to air Sunday night. “But … what we are not going to do is to try to reinsert ourselves in a military campaign inside of Syria.”


The Obama administration announced last week that it was ending a blighted $500 million effort to train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in favor of a new plan that will provide direct aid to existing rebel units that the Pentagon thinks has a better chance of succeeding against the militants. Obama, who resisted pressure from some of his top national security advisers — including then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — to arm the moderate rebels in the early months of Syria’s civil war, told “60 Minutes” that he had grave doubts about the training program before it even began.


Read More: Obama tells ’60 Minutes’ he’s going to stay the course on Syria – The Washington Post

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