Barack Obama: Vladimir Putin not leading in Syria fight

President Obama: Russia facing a 'quagmire' in Syria
president obama russia syria quagmire starr dnt tsr_00014221


    President Obama: Russia facing a 'quagmire' in Syria


President Obama: Russia facing a 'quagmire' in Syria 02:22

(CNN)President Barack Obama pushed back against claims that Vladimir Putin's recent military action in Syria is "challenging" American leadership in the middle East.

"If you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in, in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership," Obama told CBS News' Steve Kroft during an interview that aired on "60 Minutes" on Sunday.
Kroft also asked Obama if he had any indication while meeting with Putin at the United Nations General Assembly that Russia was going to launch airstrikes in Syria the following day, to which President Obama answered that there was "pretty good intelligence".
"We knew that he was planning to -- provide the military assistance that Assad was needing because they were nervous about -- a potential imminent collapse of the regime."
    In the interview Obama also addressed the faltering Syrian rebel training program saying, "there's no doubt that it did not work."
    The interview was taped Tuesday prior to the announcement from the Department of Defense that the program was being suspended Friday.
    "One of the challenges that I've had throughout this -- heartbreaking situation inside of Syria is, is that -- you'll have people insist that, you know, all you have to do is send in a few -- you know, truckloads full of arms and people are ready to fight. And then when you start a train and equip program and it doesn't work, then people say, 'Well, why didn't it work?'"
    Obama added that the situation in Syria is volatile and complicated with many players and there are no "silver bullets" to easily solve the problems.