Russia helped Washington avoid an open war in Syria in 2013 amid the scandal over the use of chemical weapons, CIA veteran Ray McGovern said in an interview with Salon.
"The Russians bailed out Obama when he was about to get involved in an open war with Syria at the end of August 2013 and the very beginning of September. Now, there are a couple of things that saved the world from war at the time, but the Russian role was key," McGovern said.
On August 30, US State Secretary John Kerry accused Bashar Assad’s government of a chemical attack on August 21 in Damascus suburbs. The accusations came before UN experts provided their conclusion. President Obama said that he decided to attack Syria, but then surprisingly changed his mind, citing the need for congressional authorization to start a military operation.
He also emphasized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s firm stance since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.
Testifying in Congress in September 2013, Kerry repeated his charges against Assad and called for an intervention. According to the CIA veteran, "everybody" knew that Kerry was lying.
Later, at a summit in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin told Obama that Kerry was lying when he called to start war in Syria, McGovern noted.