Bloomberg View: Will U.S. and Turkey Create a Syria No-Fly Zone?

Josh Rogin & Eli Lake of Bloomberg View report on the possibility of the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria:

Ever since the Syrian civil war broke out in early 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama has resisted calls from Congress to establish a no-fly zone in the country. Now we have learned that one of Obama’s top envoys is negotiating just such a plan with Syria’s neighbor Turkey.

The new proposal would be called an “air-exclusion zone,” a buffer area inside Syria along the Turkish border that would be manned by Turkish troops and protected by U.S. air power, according to three senior U.S. officials who have been briefed on the discussions. The goal would be to give some Syria rebels and civilians protection from both Islamic State and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Syria through the zone. The idea was last floated in 2012 by the French government, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was reported to support it at that time.

Representative Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told us that asking the moderate rebels to fight IS but not Assad does not make sense. He said that a no-fly zone might be necessary to ensure the success of the U.S. plan to train and arm the moderate Syria rebels.

“Ultimately, I’m not sure this division of labor between sectarian rebels against ISIS but not against the regime is sustainable,” he said. “Ultimately if we are going to arm a moderate rebel force, we are going to have to protect them. That means if the regime goes after them, we are going to have to take the necessary steps to protect them.” 

To read the full article, please click here.

By:  Josh Rogin and Eli Lake
Source: Bloomberg View