White House: ‘Unclear’ What Vladimir Putin Is Doing In Syria

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest makes a brief statement before taking reporters' questions in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House June 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earnest took an optimistic perspective on the defeat of legislation in the House of Representatives that would have moved …
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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admits it is unclear what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motives are now that Russian military forces are in Syria.

“At this point it’s unclear exactly what Russia’s intentions are,” Earnest told reporters today who asked him about Putin’s intentions for the increased military activity in Syria.

But retired General John Allen, now a Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL signaled yesterday that Russia was likely there to help prop up Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, describing it a “bad thing.”

“To prop him up with military force creates an additional crisis in the region, and in fact could bring Russian forces in confrontation with coalition forces,” he said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Behind the scenes, an administration official tells Josh Rogin that Russia had “shown their cards” in the ongoing struggle in Syria.

“The Russians’ intentions are to keep Assad in power, not to fight ISIL,” he said. “They’ve shown their cards now.”