.@HillaryClinton critiques @BarackObama's Syria policy | AP Photo

Clinton critiques Obama's Syria policy - POLITICO

Clinton then noted that as secretary of state, she had advocated a stepped-up training program. The White House rejected the idea at the time.

"I can't sit here and tell you that if we had done what I and General Petraeus and Secretary Panetta and others had recommended, we would have made more progress on the ground," Clinton said. "I obviously thought so at the time, because as we look back, the people who were fighting Assad were, you know, they were businesspeople. They were students. They were professionals who had risen up against his tyrannical rule that had really kept so much of Syria under his thumb, and before him, his father's thumb."

"If we had been able to move in, to help organize and support those people on the ground, maybe we could've made a difference." Clinton said. "Well, we've got to deal with where we are right now. It's obviously now a different set of circumstances. And what the Pentagon has been doing hasn't worked."
Clinton also said that it will be very difficult to defeat the Islamic State if Assad is still in power.

“I think that we're going to have to, as they say, walk and chew gum at the same time,” Clinton said. “But one of the challenges is that a lot of the groups that are fighting on the ground, their primary focus is still Assad.”

She said that Russia is engaged in Syria primarily to defend the Syrian president, and fighting terrorists comes second.

“We've always had Iran in there. Hezbollah is one of the mainstays of the Assad regime. So it is a very complicated political situation and battlefield to go after ISIS,” she said.

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