President Obama: Russian Strategy in Syria Is a 'Recipe for Disaster'

PHOTO: US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the White House on Oct. 2, 2015, in Washington.Jim Watson/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the White House on Oct. 2, 2015, in Washington.

President Obama has decried the strategy employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Syria as a "recipe for disaster."

Speaking to reporters at the White House today, Obama reflected on his first formal meeting with Putin in more than two years on Monday at the United Nations General Assembly.

Obama said he had fundamental differences with Putin on moving forward in the strategy to eliminate ISIS terrorists from the country, accusing Russia's bombing campaign in the country as counterproductive as they prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with military support.

He specifically condemned the Russians for their three-day bombing campaign in Syria that the U.S. said has targeted moderate rebel groups, not ISIS.

"From [Russia's] perspective they're all terrorists, and that's a recipe for disaster," Obama said. "And it's one that I reject."

Despite a meeting that White House officials called “productive,” Obama’s words for Putin were harsh as he said Russia’s military actions in Syria are isolating itself from the world.

“Mr. Putin had to go into Syria not out of strength but out of weakness, because his client, Mr. Assad, was crumbling,” Obama said. “Iran and Assad make up Mr. Putin's coalition at the moment. The rest of the world makes up ours. I don't think people are fooled by the current strategy.”

The U.S., along with six partner countries in the anti-ISIS coalition, issued a statement earlier today condemning Russia's bombing campaign, saying the attacks did not target ISIS and resulted in civilian casualties.