ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Barack Obama is using his last day in Europe to renew his quest for foreign support for a U.S. military strike in Syria. But three days after he left Washington, it's unclear whether the global coalition the president has been seeking is any closer to becoming a reality.
Putting up stiff resistance to Obama's appeals, Russia on Friday warned the United States and its allies against striking any chemical weapon storage facilities in Syria. The Russian foreign ministry said such targeting could release toxic chemicals and give militants or terrorist access to chemical weapons.
"This is a step toward proliferation of chemical weapons not only across the Syrian territory but beyond its borders," the Russian statement said.
Moreover, China remained a firm no. The European Union is skeptical about whether any military action can be effective. Even Pope Francis weighed in, urging leaders gathered here to abandon what he called a "futile mission."
Obama, Putin meet privately to discuss Syria
Obama met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the midst of their dispute over how to respond to chemical weapons use in Syria.
Putin told reporters they spoke for 20 or 30 minutes Friday and focused on Syria. The Russian president says while they disagreed, the meeting was constructive.
The White House confirmed the meeting but offered no details.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.