At the final presidential debate held Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would push for a no-fly zone in Syria to “help protect the Syrians” and put the conflict to an end.
Clnton said imposing the no-fly zone over Syria could help the U.S. “gain some leverage” on Syria and Russia that could pave the way for a negotiation.
“I'm going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria, not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to frankly gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians,” Clinton said at the final presidential debate. “Perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track.”
Chris Wallace, Fox News anchor and moderator for the third debate, made reference to Gen. Joseph Dunford, who said that imposing a no-fly zone over Aleppo could spark a war with Syria and Russia, and asked Clinton how this could be addressed.
Acknowledging the threat mentioned by Dunford, Clinton said it would take “a lot of negotiation” with the Syrian and Russian governments to impose the no-fly zone. Emphasizing the need to defeat ISIS, she maintained that imposing it would “save lives” and end the conflict in war-torn Syria faster.
“I think a no-fly zone could save lives and hasten the end of the conflict,” Clinton remarked. “I am well aware of the really legitimate concerns you have expressed from both the president and the general. This would not be done just on the first day.This would take a lot of negotiation and it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose is to provide safe zones on the ground. “
Her stand contradicts a statement she made in 2013, in which she said imposing a no-fly zone over Syria would “kill a lot of Syrians.”
After the first Gulf War, the U.S. and Britain imposed a no-fly zone over northern and southern Iraq. However, at the time, they were at war with Saddam Hussein, so they encountered no resistance to the no-fly zone mandate, The Guardian reported.
The present case is different, as Russia and Syria have so far shown no signs of letting up, with Russia deploying its S-300 ground-to-air defense system, which would make a no-fly zone enforcement more difficult, AFP reported.