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Obama: U.S. knew Russian military planned to intervene in Syria

Critics accused Obama of having ceded American leadership to Putin by having failed to prevent Russia from launching airstrikes

Baku. 12 October. REPORT.AZ/ "The United States had "pretty good intelligence" that Russia intended to intervene militarily in Syria before President Barack Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin", Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday, Report informs referring to BBC.

Critics have accused Obama of having ceded American leadership to Putin by having failed to prevent Russia from launching airstrikes there on September 30.

Russia says the airstrikes are part of a campaign to wipe out ISIS, but U.S. officials have accused Putin of using them to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the United States is seeking to oust. Some critics, including several Republican presidential candidates, have suggested that the Obama administration was taken by surprise by the airstrikes.

Obama added: "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."

Asked specifically whether he knew of Putin's plans before they met at the United Nations on Sept. 28, Obama said, "We had pretty good intelligence."

The question of how much Obama knew about Putin's plans has become more prominent as presidential candidates Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and other Republicans have criticized Obama for showing weakness in the face of Russia's advance.

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