Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton repeated her promise Wednesday evening during the presidential debate to implement a no-fly zone in Syria, but just last week, a top general said such a move would cause open war with Russia and Syria.
“I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I am well aware of the really legitimate concerns you have expressed from both the president and the general,” Clinton said in response to a question from Fox News debate moderator Chris Wallace. “This would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation and would also take making it clear to the Russians and Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground … I think we could strike a deal and make it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that this was something that we believe was in the best interest of the people on the ground in Syria.”
Despite Clinton’s assurances that she would negotiate with the Russians and the Syrians, previous negotiations with both parties — particularly relating to ceasefires in the region — have failed miserably and the Russians have seized on this failure to bolster the once-faltering regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Moreover, according to Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, implementing a no-fly zone would require war with Russia and Syria.
“Right now, Senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria it would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia,” said Dunford. “That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”
Dunford’s response to this question during a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing left the room in silence.
Clinton has pushed for a no-fly zone in Syria since October 2015. She came out with the proposal several days after Russia joined the fray in Syria and starting bombing rebels to support Assad’s regime.
The Obama administration, in contrast, does not support a no-fly zone. White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has said that “A no fly zone in Syria would not solve the problem.”
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