Putin Expected to Question Obama Over Backing Syrian Rebels

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 Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to discuss the Syrian civil war with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, days after Washington said it would provide military support to Syria’s armed opposition.

The US said last week that it would back the rebel forces because it had “high confidence” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the conflict. That claim was supported by Britain but dismissed as “unconvincing” by Russia on Friday.

The Russian leader is anticipated to bring up the US decision at an informal dinner with Obama during the annual gathering of the leaders of the Group of Eight wealthy countries. The two-day summit began Monday.

Russia is widely viewed as an ally of the Syrian government and has vetoed several Western-backed UN Security Council resolutions aimed to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad into ending the use of force.

Putin met British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hosting the G8 summit, on Sunday in London for talks about the two-year civil war. Cameron said Russia and the UK could overcome differences on Syria and should focus on the common aim of ending the conflict.

In general, the G8 summit participants are to discuss a variety of topics, including trade, tax, transparency and the economy, but the talks are expected to focus on the Syrian crisis.

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