U.S. President Barack Obama pauses to answer a question during a press conference following the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Rancho Mirage, California February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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The United States is coming under increasingly bitter criticism for its perceived lack of leadership over Syria as the country's brutal civil conflict heads toward new levels of intensity.Washington appears unable or unwilling to prevent its ally Turkey from bombing Kurdish fighters inside Syria, its critics say. Obama said.In the eyes of his detractors, Obama is guilty of refusing to engage in Syria by doing exactly what he said he would do when he was elected in 2008: pulling America out of Middle Eastern wars, after the Iraq debacle, and "pivot" U.S. foreign policy towards Asia. A pointed attack came Tuesday from France, where few have forgotten Obama's last-minute refusal to take action against Syria in 2013 after evidence surfaced that the government used chemical weapons against civilians. Republican Senator John McCain lashed out at the Obama administration's Syria choices.Washington says the military coalition of 65 countries it has led for the past 18 months has carried out thousands of airstrikes against extremists of the ISIS group, who control territory in both Syria and Iraq.The United States is also formally Russia's partner in the search for a political solution in Syria.
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