Vladimir Putin has restricted where U.S. coalition aircraft may fly in Syria, according to the Pentagon.
General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, said earlier this week the presence of Russian aircraft and anti-aircraft defense systems in Syria amounts to a de facto no-fly zone in areas controlled by the al-Assad government and the Russians.
“As we see the very capable air defense (systems) beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean,” Breedlove said on Monday.
A2/AD stands for anti-access/area denial.
The Pentagon confirmed the existence of the no-fly zone on Thursday when it announced it has begun talking with the Russian on how to “deconflict” operations.
Republican and Democrat Presidential Candidates Call for U.S. No-fly Zone
Republican presidential contender John Kasich said Friday while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire the United States needs to establish its own no-fly zone in Syria.
Kasich said the Russians and the Syrian military need to know in no uncertain terms that if they enter a U.S. no-fly zone there will be retaliation.
“You enter that no-fly zone, you enter at your own peril,” the Ohio governor said. “No more red lines, no more looking the other way. If any hostile aircraft should enter that, there will be a great consequence to them.”
He said the proposed no-fly zone should include participation from Turkey, Jordan and the Kurds. He added that the Obama administration should encourage its European allies to help enforce it.
Kasich also ruled out cooperation with Russia.
“We’re not interested in military cooperation in Syria with Russia,” he said. “Their only interest is in propping up their puppet, Assad. They used the pretext of ISIS to go in and bomb rebels who are trying to remove Assad.”
Kasich also criticized the Obama administration’s response to Russia and al-Assad.
“No more dickering, no more delaying, no more negotiations, (al-Assad) has to go,” he said. “The longer we look at the void that America has created in this world, the more chaos we have. The time has come for the United States to act.”
Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina have also called for a no-fly zone in Syria.
“I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air,” Clinton said.
“This is a tricky maneuver, it’s a dangerous maneuver, but it’s a maneuver we must undertake,” said Fiorina.
Military analysts warn the establishment of a no-fly zone will heighten the possibility of confrontation with Russia.