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White House says Obama ‘missed opportunity’ on Syria

The White House said Friday that the Obama administration missed an opportunity to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, and President Trump must accept that the moment has passed.

“There is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “We had an opportunity, and we need to focus now on defeating ISIS.”

He was responding to a reporter’s question about whether Mr. Trump considers Mr. Assad the legitimate leader of Syria. 

Mr. Obama backed off a plan to launch a missile attack against Mr. Assad’s regime, and his effort to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces failed. With the help of the Russian military, Mr. Assad has systematically defeated much of the rebel opposition.

“There is not the opposition that existed last time,” Mr. Spicer said. “There is a reality that doesn’t exist in the same way.”

The U.S. has sent small numbers of special forces into Syria to aid in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, but not to oppose Mr. Assad’s forces.

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