Syria conflict will not turn into US-Russia proxy war: WH

Washington: The ongoing Syrian conflict would not turn out to be a proxy war between the US and Russia, the White House said today while hoping that Moscow will change its current approach in Syria.

“I think the President was fairly definitive in the news conference that he did 10 or 12 days ago, in which he made clear that the conflict in Syria would not turn into a proxy war between the United States and Russia. That is a firm commitment that the president has made and that is something that we will abide by,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

Noting that there were a couple of reasons for that, he said, “the first is, that we would welcome Russia’s constructive contribution to the broader international coalition that’s been formed, to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. Russia has declined to make that constructive contribution thus far, but that continues to be something that we’re open to.”

“Secondly, the efforts of our international coalition that was built and led by the United States, is one that is focused on ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). This is a multi-pronged strategy focused on degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL,” he said.

Russia claims to share that goal, Earnest added.

“Thus far, we believe that they’ve pursued a strategy that it actually undermines the effective pursuit of that goal, but we would welcome a change in their strategy to more effectively accomplish the goal that they have claimed to have set out for themselves,” he said.

Earnest said US President Barack Obama’s top priority when it comes to confronting a very difficult situation in Syria is the safety and the security of the American people.

That is why there are any number of military strikes that the president has ordered against extremists operating inside of Syria, he said.

“In some cases these are ISIL extremists. In some cases these are extremists not affiliated with ISIL, but leading extremist organisations trying to capitalise on the chaos in Syria to plan and execute terror attacks against the United States and our interests around the world. And that is the focus of our efforts there,” Earnest said.