The US government should use diplomatic and military leverage to bring Russia to the negotiating table over Syria, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a nationally televised leadership debate.
On September 30, Russian Air Forces commenced precision airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on the request of the Syrian government.
“I am trying to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. I know inside the (Obama) administration this is being hotly debated,” Clinton, President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state, told the first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
Clinton said the purpose of US policies on Syria should be “to get the Russians to deal with everybody in the region to move forward toward a political solution.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s main challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin would regret getting Russia involved in Syria.
“When he gets bogged down I think the Russian people are going to give him a message that maybe he should work with the US to rectify the situation there.”
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting opposition factions and numerous extremist groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
Since the beginning of the war, the United States and some of its allies have supported the so-called moderate Syrian opposition faction in its call for a regime change in Syria.
Russia has repeatedly stated that Syrian President Bashar Assad is the legitimate president of Syria and the only force capable of resisting terrorism in the country.