President Obama said Friday that he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin years ago that allowing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to repress his people to keep Syria to prevent a civil war was a mistake, and said recent events proved him correct.
"Five years later, I was right," Obama said on Friday at the White House, noting that Syria is engulfed in a bloody civil war despite the theory held by Putin and others that the strongman could keep the country in check.
"You cannot bring peace to Syria and you cannot bring an end to the civil war unless the government is considered legitimate by a majority of Syrians," Obama said. He said today, a majority of Syrians do not feel that way.
Assad is going to have to leave before Syria can stabilize, he said.