The Straits Times
Published on Jan 28, 2013

Obama says struggling over whether to intervene in Syria


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama said he has been wrestling with the question whether a US military intervention in Syria's 22-month-old civil war would help resolve the bloody conflict or make things worse.

In a pair of interviews, Obama responded to critics who say the United States has not been involved enough in Syria, where thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced according to UN officials. Transcripts of both interviews were released on Sunday.

The US has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, and has recognised an opposition coalition - but has stopped short of authorising US arming of rebels to overthrow Assad.

"In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?" Obama said in an interview with The New Republic published on the magazine's website.