The Obama administration is reportedly embroiled in a new debate on the potential creation of no-fly zones and ‘safe havens’ in Syria.
The establishment of no-fly zones and safe havens in Syria topped the agenda of a White House meeting earlier this week, the New York Times reported, citing sources in the White House.
During the October 18 gathering, US Secretary of State John Kerry and a number of other high-ranking officials approved the idea, while Pentagon chief Ashton Carter pointed to the extensive military resources required to enforce such zones in Syria.
Also on the meeting’s agenda was establishing safe zones to render humanitarian aid to civilians, based on Syria’s borders with Turkey and Jordan.
The meeting came just two weeks after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the idea of creating a no-fly zone in Syria, which he said would distract the US-led coalition from the fight against Islamic State militants.
Previously, Turkey had proposed a buffer zone in northern Syria, but the United States and NATO did not support this initiative.
On October 5, the Financial Times newspaper reported, in turn, that the Russian operation in Syria had disrupted the implementation of Washington’s plans to establish a no-fly zone over the territory of Syria.
On September 30, more than fifty Russian aircraft, including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 warplanes, commenced precision airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Earlier that day, the Russian upper house of parliament unanimously supported the request of President Vladimir Putin to deploy units of the Russian Aerospace Forces abroad.
Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad confirmed that Syrian Army strikes, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, were carried out against armed terrorist organizations, not political opposition factions or civilians.