Obama: Russian involvement in Syria ‘not an indication of strength’

Obama: Russian involvement in Syria ‘not an indication of strength’
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President Obama said in an interview late Sunday that Russia’s increasing military presence in Syria should be not interpreted as “an indication of strength.”

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He said on “60 Minutes” that funding and arms from Moscow won’t be enough to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“You don’t think that Mr. Putin would have preferred having Mr. Assad be able to solve this problem without him having to send a bunch of pilots and and money that they don’t have?” Obama asked.

He also dismissed the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin is challenging his leadership.

“If you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in, in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership,” Obama said. “My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.”

Obama also admitted that his administration’s $500 million program to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Assad regime “did not work.”

“One of the challenges that I’ve had throughout this heartbreaking situation inside of Syria is, is that you’ll have people insist that, you know, all you have to do is send in a few, you know, truckloads full of arms and people are ready to fight.”

He said he had always been "skeptical" of the plan, which was scrapped last week after training approximately 50 fighters.

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