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Obama: I Am 'Haunted' by Syria

FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama is seen during an interview in the Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is "haunted" by what is happening in Syria, but not by his decision not to get the U.S. involved militarily.

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Obama said it is "magical thinking" to believe that arming the opposition earlier would have gotten rid of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad by this time.

The president said only U.S. involvement in Syria at the scope and size of the war in Iraq would have led to a better outcome.

Obama told The New Yorker that the United States must work with those who have been financing the opposition to make sure no extremist groups emerge from Syria the same way the Taliban came out of Afghanistan - which developed from U.S.-funded Islamists who fought against the country’s Soviet occupation.