Meanwhile, here’s a leaked recording of what Secretary of State John Kerry said – and the New York Times obligingly omitted in its coverage of a meeting with a small group of Syrians at the UN General Assembly in New York.
The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger. Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth. And that’s why Russia came in. Because they didn’t want a Daesh government. And they supported Assad. And, uh, and we know that this was growing. We were watching. We saw that, that Daesh was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened. Uhh, we thought our, we could probably manage, uh, you know, that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, you’ve got Assad and you’ve got Putin to support him.
So Washington knew Russia was in Syria (at the invite of an Assad returned in 2014 on a bigger majority and turnout than any western leader in living memory) to destroy ISIS. Having funded terror and expected Assad’s capitulation, Kerry-Obama were wrong-footed by his unanticipated turn to Lavrov and Putin. They then repeatedly depicted Russian efforts at defeating terror as monstrous, while brokering ‘cease-fires’ they knew would allow the terrorists to regroup.