No decision made on no-fly zone in Syria: U.S. State Department

A United States Navy airplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey. (File photo: AP)

There has been no decision to move forward with a no-fly zone in Syria, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday, following reports that Secretary of State John Kerry has raised the option of a no-fly-zone to protect civilians.

Quoting senior administration officials, CNN reported on Tuesday that Kerry has raised the possibility of a no-fly zone in Syria along the northern border, with some initial talk about another one near the southern border with Jordan.

It was reported that the idea was presented at a National Security Council meeting last Thursday even though U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected it, arguing that a political transition in which President Bashar al-Assad stepped aside was the way to address Syria’s crisis.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told a daily briefing on Wednesday that the administration continued to discuss how best to go after ISIS in Syria.

“We continue to have discussions about how to best go after ISIS, and particularly there in Syria, in northern Syria in particular,” Kirby said. “We’ve talked about the concerns that the Turks have expressed about the movement of ISIS there in northern Syria.”

He added: “And to date, there’s been no decision to move forward with a no-fly zone.”

At the White House briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest said a no-fly zone was not being considered right now.

“We’ve not been in a position to take it off the table or to rule it out in the future, but we have indicated that it’s not something that we’re considering right now,” Earnest said.

U.S. NATO ally Turkey has long campaigned for a no-fly zone in northern Syria to keep ISIS and Kurdish militants from its border and help stem the tide of displaced civilians trying to cross.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48