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Obama: Syria ‘starting to fray more rapidly’

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President Obama said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that Syria is deteriorating without Russia and the U.S. cooperating on halting its civil war.

“My call today to him was to indicate that we’re starting to see it fray more rapidly,” he said on “CBS This Morning,” referencing his talk on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

{mosads}“And if the United States and Russia are not in sync about maintaining it and getting a political track and transition moving, then we could be back in a situation where we were three, four weeks ago. And that would serve neither of our interests.”

Obama said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad remains the biggest sticking point between America and Russia on solving the conflict.

“[Russia is] very much committed to maintaining the structure of the Syrian state, which, in theory, we don’t object to either,” he told host Charlie Rose.

“Where we have continually butted heads — and this has been true for six years now — is [Putin’s] insistence that he cannot back unilaterally the removal of [Assad]. That’s a decision that Assad and the Syrians have to make.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said Obama and Putin had a “rather intense discussion” about Syria.

Russia is a close ally of the Assad regime, while the Obama administration hopes the embattled Syrian leader will leave office. 

Tags Barack Obama Bashar al-Assad Civil War Diplomacy Foreign policy Politics Russia Syria Vladimir Putin

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