Ben Rhodes, US President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, downplayed on Tuesday the importance of a no-fly zone in Syria, noting it might be insignificant, Quds Press reported.
“We do not think a no-fly zone would resolve the fundamental issues on the ground because there continues to be fighting on the ground,” he told reporters in Laos, where Obama attended a regional summit.
“A no-fly zone would necessarily only be contained to one specific area, and we have problems and violence across the country,” noting that Washington and Ankara had been discussing the issue for a long time.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his call for a no-fly zone and safe zones for refugees in northern Syria during the G20 summit.
Quds Press said that Rhodes hailed the Turkish operation against Daesh in Jarablus, the Syrian border city with Turkey. “It has been a key priority for a long time,” he said.
“If we can seal that border using Turkish forces, opposition forces, with our logistical and air support, I think that would help us make a substantial gain against ISIS,” he said using another acronym for the group.
Rhodes also said that the operations which included American support for the Syrian Democratic Forces contributed to the liberation of Manbij, which was Daesh’s passage to Turkey.
The American official noted that Turkish operation in Jarablus also prevented the movement of Daesh and foreign fighters between Syria and Turkey, stating that there is American-Turkish cooperation with the moderate Syrian opposition, including logistic and aerial support in Manbij and Jarablus.