WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants to involve the Russians as much as possible in Syria, especially since they now have felt the wrath of ISIS.
The Democratic front-runner told CBS in an interview aired Tuesday that the Russians should be more willing to fight ISIS since the terror group claimed responsibility for blowing up a Russian passenger plane originating in Egypt.
“The Russians have now paid a big price because of the bomb in their jet,” Clinton told Charlie Rose. “They’ve lost people to ISIS.”
The Russians have been getting increasingly involved in the Syrian civil war, but U.S. officials say the bombings carried out by Moscow are not targeting ISIS — despite what they say. Instead, the appear to be targeting rebels to prop up the Assad regime.
Clinton said if she were president, she would tell the Russians the U.S. needs “if not your help, at least your acquiescence.”
If Russia wanted to do more than get out of the way and actually fight ISIS, she said she would “welcome” that.
The Democrat has been one of the earliest supporters of establishing a no-fly zone in Syria, which the administration has not yet embraced.
But asked if she would be prepared to shoot down a Russian military plane if they were to violate the airspace — as apparently happened in Turkey — Clinton denied it would ever come to that.
“That would not happen, because we’re going to put up a no-fly zone where the Russians are clearly kept informed,” Clinton said. “I want them at the table.”
Clinton also ruled out sending American combat troops into Syria — calling it a “non-starter” and criticized Republicans who has suggested it — while leaving open the door to more special forces and trainers.
“We’re not putting American combat troops back into Syria or Iraq,” Clinton said. “At this point, I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I would agree to that.”