Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin clash over the carnage in Syria

Published: Tuesday 29th September 2015 by The News Editor

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Russia and the US disagreed sharply over the chaos in Syria, with Barack Obama urging a political transition to replace its president but Vladimir Putin warning it would be a mistake to abandon Bashar Assad.

After both speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Obama and Mr Putin also met privately for 90 minutes – their first face-to-face encounter in nearly a year.

At the heart of their dispute over Syria is the fate Assad, the embattled Syrian leader who is a Russian ally.

The US has long called for him to leave power, while Russia has cast the Syrian government as the only viable option for confronting Islamic State, the militant group that has taken advantage of the vacuum created by the civil war.

During his address to the UN, Mr Obama declared: “We must recognise that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.”

Mr Putin, speaking shortly after the US president, urged the world to stick with Assad.

“We believe it’s a huge mistake to refuse to co-operate with the Syrian authorities, with the government forces, those who are bravely fighting terror face-to-face,” Mr Putin said during his first appearance at the UN gathering in a decade.

Published: Tuesday 29th September 2015 by The News Editor

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