WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Ed Royce, the Committee’s chairman, today applauded House action to advance their legislation that would require the Department of Defense to consider the feasibility of imposing a no-fly zone in Syria.
“For more than four years, one of the Assad regime’s most effective tools against its citizens has been to rain down terror from the skies above Syria. Fearful of Assad’s barrel bombs and chemical weapons, thousands upon thousands of Syrians have abandoned their homes and spilled across the border into Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. They are begging the world for help. They are begging for the killing to stop,” said Rep. Engel. “Our amendment would require the Pentagon’s leaders to take a hard look at a no fly-zone option. While this wouldn’t fully halt Assad’s brutality, a no-fly zone or a safe-zone would provide a glimmer of hope for these people who have already lost so much. We need to explore this possibility and help alleviate the suffering of Syria’s innocents.”
“Establishing safe zones inside, and a no-fly zone over Syria would not only help protect defenseless victims being bombed and gassed, but they would also provide moderate opposition forces the space they need to orchestrate the removal of the Assad regime. Active consideration of this option is long overdue. I commend Ranking Member Engel for being a leader on Syria and the humanitarian and strategic disaster it has become.”
The amendment would require the Department of Defense to assess the potential effectiveness, risks, and operational requirements for establishing a no-fly zone and one or more safe zones in Syria. Part of this assessment includes the impact these zones would have on humanitarian and counter-terrorism efforts in Syria and its neighbors, as well as the potential for regional contributions to the establishment of these zones.