NEW YORK – President Vladimir Putin of Russian said in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes that the U.S. had failed to stop the Islamic State (ISIS). Putin also said that he supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stay in power, but President Barack Obama has long insisted that Assad should leave office for lasting peace to be achieved in Syria. Obama and Putin will address the UN General Assembly today. The two leaders are also expected to meet on the sidelines of the UN event.
President Putin used his interview on 60 Minutes ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly and a meeting with President Obama to highlight what he believes to be America’s failures in Syria. Putin cited the recent admission by the Pentagon about how an effort to train Syrian rebels had failed to yield the desired fruits.
Although the initiative aimed at training more than 5,000 rebels, Putin said in the interview that only 60 rebels were properly trained and only four or five are fighting. According to Putin, the rest of the rebels simply took off with American weapons to join the enemy – ISIS.
Support for Assad
Although the position of the U.S. has been that President Assad should step down to allow for real peace to be realized in Syria, Putin has voiced his strong support for Assad. Putin said that Russia supports the legitimate government of Syria, adding that any actions to destroy the Government of Assad will only create more problems.
However, British PM, David Cameron, differs with Putin on the issue of support for Assad’s government. Cameron recommends criminal trial for Assad, saying that Assad had broken the international law and should be subject to the same law.
Sharing of intelligence
In what could complicate Obama’s efforts to deal with Syria’s crisis, Iraq announced its plans to share security and intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in efforts to bolster war against ISIS.
The Syrian crisis has been going on for over four years resulting in the loss of more than 220,000 lives and a difficult refugee situation not seen in recent years.