Tags: John Kirby | Syrian War | Airstrikes | Russia

John Kirby: Syrian War Won't End Without Grounding Aircraft

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Thursday, 22 Sep 2016 12:06 PM

The only way to move talks forward to end the Syrian conflict is to get Russia and Syria to stop using aircraft in the area, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.

"One way you might be able to get there is to get aircraft out of the air. There's only two types of aircraft in northwestern Syria in areas where humanitarian aid is not getting and where the opposition is — and that's Russian and Syrian," Kirby told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"Can we maybe just work on getting them out of the air long enough so that some of the aid can get in?" he asked.

Fighting in Syria began between the government and rebels in 2012. The U.N. has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of breaking a cease-fire and denying aid to the city of Aleppo. Millions have fled the country, according to NBC News.

"Our case is there's no way this war ends if they aren't out of the air, if we can't get cessation of hostilities," Kirby said, "the opposition's not going to stop and you're never going to get to political talks, and the war will just go on and on. And that's not in Russia's interest."

Host Joe Scarborough asked whether the U.S. should destroy Syria's airplanes, and Kirby responded that the U.S. is not planning military intervention. "The president has been very clear that there's not going to be a military solution to this civil war in Syria. It's got to be political."

Working with Russia was vital, Kirby said, "that's why we're pushing on Russia, which has influence over Assad, and can get them out of the air if they so choose."

The U.S. had been clear with Russia that no deal can get into place without them convincing Assad to stop the fighting, said Kirby. "We've been very honest with them."

The International Syria Support Group, which contains 22 countries including Russia, still believe that talks to end the conflict were still worthwhile, but he said, "I don't know how much longer it's going to take."

Getting aid to the Syrians who are being victimized is the primary motivation behind the push for an end to the conflict, Kirby said. "We are squarely in their corner and are working not just to stop the violence today, but to try to stop the war tomorrow and to try to build a Syria where they can go home."

The coalition believes "other options" besides peace talks are not ideal, but that they are willing to look into them "if the political diplomatic track fails," he added.

During an appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends,"  Kirby addressed the issue of terrorists mixing with refugees saying, "I wouldn't debate the fact that there is potential for ISIS terrorists to try to insert themselves" into refugee groups.

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The only way to move talks forward to end the Syrian conflict is to get Russia and Syria to stop using aircraft in the area, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.
John Kirby, Syrian War, Airstrikes, Russia
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2016-06-22
Thursday, 22 Sep 2016 12:06 PM
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