President Barack Obama sharply criticized Russia's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime on Friday saying Moscow's actions could result in a "quagmire" in the region.
"What started off as peaceful protests against Assad...evolved into civil war because Assad met those protests with unimaginable brutality," Obama said. "The reason Assad is still in power is because Russia and Iran have supported him in that process. They have been propping a regime that is rejected by an overwhelming majority of the population."
Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin's icy relationship took on an even chillier tone this week amid a perception that Moscow is seizing on a perceived American vulnerability in addressing the Syrian conflict and making a power play in the war-torn region.