U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton’s policy abut Syria would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.
Speaking about the Syrian crisis, Trump said Clinton could drag the United States into a world war with a more aggressive posture toward resolving the conflict.
Trump said defeating Islamic State is a higher priority than persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, playing down a long-held goal of U.S. policy.
Clinton has called for the establishment of a no-fly zone and “safe zones” on the ground to protect non-combatants. Some analysts fear that protecting those zones could bring the United States into direct conflict with Russian fighter jets.
“And 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 so that perhaps we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end and go forward on a political track,” Clinton has previously said.
“What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria, you’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” Trump commented on her statement.
“You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk,” he said.
Trump said Assad is much stronger now than he was three years ago. He said getting Assad to leave power was less important than defeating Islamic State.
“Assad is secondary, to me, to ISIS,” he said.
On Russia, Trump again knocked Clinton’s handling of U.S.-Russian relations while secretary of state and said her harsh criticism of Putin raised questions about “how she is going to go back and negotiate with this man who she has made to be so evil,” if she wins the presidency.
Russia launched an air campaign on September 30 last year in support of Syrian government forces, in a military intervention that has been widely credited with helping turn the balance of power in favour of President Bashar al-Assad.
Since then, at least 9,364 people have been killed in Russian raids, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On the contrary, the U.S. administration has always said that it supports the Syrian civilians and their rightful demands, but has done nothing except speeches to aid them.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.