US President Barack Obama says there is no “military solution” to the years-long conflict in Syria, days after Washington announced plans to train anti-Damascus militants.
In an interview with Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television on Friday, Obama said resolving the conflict needs the cooperation of the Persian Gulf and regional countries, including Turkey.
Obama said he doubted if the war in Syria would end before he leaves office in 2017.
The US president went on to deny Washington’s involvement in the four-year Syrian crisis that has taken tens of thousands of lives.
“You have a civil war in a country that arises out of a long standing grievance: It was not something triggered by the United States, it was not something that could have been stopped by the United States,” he said.
“The situation in Syria is heartbreaking but it’s extremely complex,” he said.
The US president said that “our efforts have to be as part of a broader international coalition, and ultimately a military solution is not going to be the solution.”
“If the United States simply sent in troops into Syria — our military is very effective, and for a short period of time, we potentially could come down on the side of the opposition against [Syrian President] Assad. But in terms of governance, in terms of keeping the peace, in terms of working through some of the sectarian issues that have plagued that country as well as the region for such a long time, those would still be there.”
He stated that “too often in the Middle East region, people attribute everything to the United States.”
“The United States ultimately can only work through Arab countries who are also working on their own behalf to deal with these issues,” Obama said.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, the United States and its regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants operating inside the country.
According to the United Nations, more than 220,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over four years.
The Obama administration has already outlined a $500 million program to train and arm 5,000 “moderate” militants in Syria to fight against ISIL and the Assad government, but according to the Pentagon, the number would be something between 12,000 and 15,000.
Earlier this month, the US military said that it will soon begin to train 3,000 militants fighting in Syria.
US military officials said 400 US military trainers were ready in Turkey and Jordan to train the militants.
The officials also noted that some of the trained militants could decide to fight the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Washington has launched hundreds of airstrikes against the ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria, which analysts regard as part of the US attempts to gradually spread its influence in the region.
Reports say thousands of private security contractors are being asked by the US government to consider joining the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and possibly elsewhere in the Middle East.
By Press TV