Moscow and the United States continue to have difference of opinion on Syria. While Russia claims to target militant forces in the war-torn country, Washington keeps on hinting that Russia has other plans in Syria.

US President Barack Obama has asked Russia to stop targeting moderate rebels in Syria. He perceives it as Russia’s effort to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Moscow’s major allies.

The West finds the Russian intervention to be a major obstacle to its efforts to end the war. Russia’s efforts have given Assad a major boost. Washington claims that Moscow has been bombing US-backed rebel groups in Syria, and it does not like it.

The latest discussion between Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin shows the same clash of claims by the two countries. “President Obama emphasised the importance now of Russia playing a constructive role by ceasing its air campaign against moderate opposition forces in Syria,” Reuters quotes a statement from the White House.

US Senator John McCain does not believe Russia is willing to be a part of the West’s efforts to bring peace in Syria. “Mr Putin is not interested in being our partner,” he said. “He wants to shore up the Assad regime.”

The support of the Assad regime is the main point of discord between Russia and the West. While Russia and some Middle Eastern countries like Iran back Assad, the West as well as its gulf allies like Saudi Arabia does not want the Syrian president to be a part of the future of the country.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir earlier said Russia would not be able to keep Assad in power. He reminded similar efforts by Iran had “failed” in the past.

“It is impossible for a man behind the killing of 300,000 innocent people… to remain” in power,” Arab News quotes the Saudi FM as speaking at a joint press conference with his Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter.