Obama Says Blood of Syrian Civilians is on Hands of Assad and Russia

US President Barack Obama holds a year-end press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room
US President Barack Obama holds a year-end press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room

President Barack Obama on Friday harshly accused the Syrian regime, along with Moscow and Tehran, of slaughtering civilians in Aleppo.

“We have seen a deliberate strategy of surrounding, besieging and starving innocent civilians,” Obama said during a year-end news conference.

“Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone: the Assad regime and its allies Russia and Iran,” Obama said. “The blood for these atrocities are on their hands.”

He added, “The Assad regime cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy.”

Asked about the fact the US didn’t get involved, Obama said, “Because I am president of the United States, I feel responsible.”

But Obama said that after every option was examined “in painful detail,” factors including the involvement of Russia and Iran and the lack of cohesion among the Syrian opposition required a full-scale military intervention in order to aid the situation.

“Unless we were all-in and willing to take over Syria, we were going to have problems,” Obama said.

“I understand the impulse to want to do something, but ultimately what I’ve had to do is to think about what we can sustain, what is realistic. And my first priority has to be what’s the right thing to do for America,” he said.

“Based on hours of meetings … where we went through every option in painful detail … short of putting large numbers of US troops on the ground, uninvited, without any international law mandate, without sufficient support from Congress,” it would have been impossible.

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SOURCE: CNN, Ryan Browne and Kevin Liptak