No-fly zone in Syria 'should have been backed'

'It is too bad that we didn’t support what the Turks wanted,' James Baker says

No-fly zone in Syria 'should have been backed'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. should have backed Turkey’s proposal for a safe zone in northern Syria, former Secretary of State James Baker told a Senate panel Thursday.

“It is too bad that we didn’t support what the Turks wanted which was a no fly zone along the northern border of Syria,” Baker said.  

The retired once top diplomat told lawmakers that the U.S. could have negotiated a deal with regional allies in which American air and logistical support would have been supplemented by ground troops from Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Arab emirates in the gulf.

 Had such a deal been crafted, the region would not have witnessed the emergence of the Daesh militant group, according to Baker.

“Now maybe its too late to do that, may be its not,” he said. “Maybe we could generate some sort of coalition like that. But I think this what we should have done.​”

Turkey has asked the U.S. and other western partners to help secure a safe zone in northern Syria but Washington has been reluctant to take up the proposal, citing difficulties in controlling the area, which would create the need for U.S. ground troops – a move President Barack Obama has rejected. 

As a no fly zone would help hold a large number refugees inside Syria, European nations such as German and France support the move in efforts to stop the flow of refugees into the continent. 

Baker, who served as chief of staff in the administration of Ronald Reagan and as Secretary of State under President George W. H. Bush, also suggested that Washington should ally more closely with Saudi Arabia because the Kingdom faces a threat from Iran.

“They really feel that we don’t have their back anymore. They have been a pretty good ally for a long long time,” he said. “They really feel ineffective with us now."

Former National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, who testified alongside Baker, agreed that the U.S. should reassure its Mideast allies.

“It is always important to have a keen understanding the threats that they feel and that they see,” he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mayıs 2016, 09:28