Obama: Russia to shift strategy in Syria

This handout picture taken on November 30, 2015 and obtained from the Russian Defence Ministry's official website shows Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (4th L) standing next to the coffin with the body of Russian pilot Lt Col Oleg Peshkov during a ceremony at the Chkalovsky military airport outside Moscow, after it was delivered from Turkey. Turkey on Monday sent back to Russia the body of a pilot killed when his plane was shot down by the Turkish air force for allegedly violating its air space on the Syrian border, reports said. AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / VADIM SAVITSKY CAMPAIGNS.

The US president Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he expects a gradual shift in Russia’s strategy in Syria.

“I think it is possible over the next several months that we both see a shift in calculation in the Russians and a recognition that it’s time to bring the civil war in Syria to a close,” Obama said on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Paris.

“It’s not going to be easy. Too much blood has been shed,” he said, adding that Russia had invested years in keeping Assad’s regime in place.

He also said that the bombing of a Russian commercial flight over Egypt, and the recent downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey was slowly changing Russian president Vladimir Putin’s calculations.

Obama is in Paris for the COP21 climate conference, but is holding talks with Putin on the sidelines – mainly on Syria.