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Obama: The U.S. couldn't have stopped Syrian conflict

Residents and rescuers pick through the rubble of a building in Saraqeb, in Syria's Idlib province, allegedly destroyed by shelling from President Bashar Assad's military, as seen in an unverified video posted online by activists, April 27, 2015.

In an interview with Arab television station al-Arabiya on Friday, President Obama said he doubts the bloodshed in Syria will end before he leaves office. It's a conflict that the U.S. could not have stopped, he said.

"I'll be honest, probably not because the situation in Syria is heartbreaking but it's extremely complex," Mr. Obama said. "And I am haunted by the hardships and the deaths. It's something I take very seriously. But when the analogy is used of Rwanda, it presumes that some sort of swift U.S. intervention would have prevented these problems. You have a civil war in a country that arises out of longstanding grievances. It wasn't something that was triggered by the United States. It wasn't something that could have been stopped by the United States."

Earlier in the week, Mr. Obama met with the leaders of Gulf nations at a summit at Camp David in Maryland, where they discussed the Syrian conflict and other issues such as Iran's nuclear capabilities.

"One of the things that I have said in the summit, and I was very blunt, is that all too often in the Middle East region, people attribute everything to the United States," Mr. Obama told al-Arabiya. "There are conspiracy theories everywhere. If something wrong happens, well, it must be the United States."