Obama, despite dissent on Syria, not shifting toward strikes on Assad

Smoke and flame rise after what fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) said were U.S.-led air strikes on the mills of Manbij where Islamic State militants are positioned, in Aleppo GovernorateBy Arshad Mohammed and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. administration sought on Friday to contain fallout from a leaked internal memo critical of its Syria policy, but showed no sign it was willing to consider military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces called for in the letter signed by dozens of American diplomats. Several U.S. officials said that while the White House is prepared to hear the diplomats’ dissenting viewpoint, it is not expected to spur any changes in President Barack Obama’s approach to Syria in his final seven months in office. One senior official said that the test for whether these proposals for more aggressive action are given high-level consideration will be whether they “fall in line with our contention that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.” The document – sent through the State Department’s “dissent channel,” a conduit for voicing contrary opinions meant to be confidential – underscored long-standing divisions and frustrations among Obama’s aides over his response to Syria’s five-year-old civil war.

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