The only thing President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agree on in Syria is making sure their respective militaries don't run into each other, Obama said on Friday.

"With respect to Russia, the only understanding that we have arrived at is, how do we de-conflict in the event that our planes and their planes might be occupying similar space over Syrian skies?" Obama said during a joint White House appearance with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

"So in that sense, we have arrived at an understanding and some channels for communications. Where we will continue to differ is in the basic set of principles and strategies we are pursuing inside of Syria," he said.

Putin believes that propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad is the key, while Obama thinks targeting the Islamic State is the best way to end the conflict that has claimed almost 200,000 lives over the last four years.

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"So there's no meeting of the minds in terms of strategy," Obama said. "But my hope is that as we continue to have these conversations, and as I suspect Russia starts realizing that they are not going to be able to bomb their way to a peaceful situation inside of Syria, that we will be able to make progress on that front."

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