Support The Moscow Times!

Obama Expects Gradual 'Shift' in Russia's Syria Strategy

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he expected a “shift” in Russia's strategy in Syria, referring to “fresh memories” in Moscow of the drawn-out Afghan war in the 1980s, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday.

“I think it is possible over the next several months that we see … a recognition [in Moscow] that it's time to bring the civil war in Syria to a close,” he was reported as saying on the sidelines of a conference on climate change in Paris.

He added that he believed that Russia may eventually align itself with the Western anti-Islamic State coalition, instead of lending support to the beleaguered Syrian President Bashar Assad — a longtime Moscow ally.

“I think Putin understands that — with Afghanistan fresh in the memory for him — to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he's looking for,” Obama said at a news conference, Reuters reported.

On the same day, he urged Turkey to reduce tensions with Moscow following the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber on Nov. 24.

“The United States supports Turkey's right to defend itself, its airspace and its territory,” he said after a meeting with the Turkish President Recep Erdogan at the climate summit, according to a separate Reuters report.

“We discussed how Turkey and Russia can work together to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic path to resolve this issue,” he added.

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.