Obama doesn't foresee U.S. boots on the ground in Syria

10:15 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
US President Barack Obama waves as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport Friday in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)
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(USA TODAY) -- President Obama said on Friday he does not foresee a situation in which deploying U.S. troops to Syria would be helpful.

"As a general rule, I don't rule things out as commander-in-chief, because circumstances change," Obama told reporters during his visit to Costa Rica on Friday. "Having said that I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in Syria - American boots on the ground in Syria - would be good for America but would also be good for Syria."

Obama's comments come a little more than a week after the White House said it is very likely that Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his people. The president had previously set use or transfer of chemical weapons by Assad as a "red line" that would elicit an unspecified response from the Obama administration.

Obama, however, has cautioned that more proof is needed before the United States escalates its involvement in Syria.

The two-year conflict has left more than 70,000 dead. While the U.S. has provided tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to rebel groups, the Obama administration has thus far resisted arming the resistance.

"In terms of any additional steps we take, it's going to be based number one on the facts on the ground, number two what's in the interest of the American people and our national security," Obama said. "As president of the United States, I am going to make those decisions based on the best evidence and after careful consultation. Because when we rush into things, when we leap before we look, then not only do we pay a price, but we often also see unintended consequences on the ground. It's important for us to do it right and that's exactly what we're doing right now."

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