Washington: US President Barack Obama has expressed doubts whether to trust Russia to cooperate militarily with America in putting an end to the Syrian crisis, saying the proposition needs to be tested first.
"I'm not confident that we can trust the Russians or Vladimir Putin, which is why we have to test whether or not we can get an actual cessation of hostilities. That includes an end to the kinds of aerial bombing and civilian death and destruction that we've seen carried out by the Assad regime," Obama told reporters at news conference on Thursday.
He said Russia may not be able to get there, either because they don't want to, or because they don't have sufficient influence over Assad and that will be tested by the US.
"We go into this without any blinders on. We're very clear that Russia has been willing to support a murderous regime that has an individual, Assad, who has destroyed his country just to cling on to power. What started with peaceful protests has led to a shattering of an entire pretty advanced society," Obama said.
"Whenever you are trying to broker any kind of deal with an individual or a country like that, you have got to go in there with some scepticism," he said while replying to a question.
Talking about the Syrian crisis Obama said defeating the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda requires and end to the civil war and the Assad regime's brutality against the Syrian people that has pushed people into the arms of extremists.
"The regime and its allies continue to violate the cessation of hostilities, including with vicious attacks on defenceless civilians, medieval sieges against cities like Aleppo, and blocking food from reaching families that are starving."
"It is deplorable and the depravity of the Syrian regime has rightly earned the condemnation of the world," he said.
In a strong message to Russia, Obama said the country's direct involvement in these actions over the last several weeks raises very serious questions about their commitment to pulling the situation back from the brink.
"The US remains prepared to work with Russia to try to reduce the violence and strengthen our efforts against Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in Syria, but so far Russia has failed to take the necessary steps."
Given the deteriorating situation, it is time for Russia to show that it is serious about pursuing these objectives," he said.