Putin Urges US to Hold Off on Striking Syria 8/31/13
August 31, 2013
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging President Barack Obama not to rush into any decision on striking Syria, but to consider whether strikes would help end the violence and be worth the likely civilian casualties.
Saturday's statements were the first from Putin since the suspected chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.
Putin advised Obama to reflect on the results of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq before deciding to unleash air strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Putin is also questioning whether Syrian government troops were responsible the attack, saying it would have been foolish for them to carry out such an attack while they were making gains on the battlefield. The Russian leader suggests it may have been a ploy by rebels trying to draw the U.S. into Syria's civil war. Putin says if the U.S. has evidence to the contrary, it should be presented to the U.N. Security Council.