Interventionists say the U.S. needs to stop ISIS and remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. U.S. ground troops could help speed up the battle to retake Raqqa, which at the moment, lacks a credible fighting force. The U.S. doesn't even need to put boots on the ground. Instead of committing ground combat troops, the U.S. can ramp up its air strikes on regime and ISIS targets, increase sanctions on Russia to pressure them on Syria, or continue to arm rebel groups to force the regime to the negotiating table.
Syria is an incredibly complex situation but it's not an impossible situation. The U.S. can still do a lot to stop the slaughter of innocent people. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are big advocates of intervention. They believe the fight against ISIS is also the fight against Assad. The two are linked and both have to be addressed before we see stability in the region again.
"Our strategy cannot presume to separate the fight against [ISIS] from the Syrian people's fight against the Assad regime. They are inextricably connected," they said.
The two argued that if Assad is allowed to continue "to slaughter his own people, it will be impossible to destroy the radical terrorist groups that occupy Syria and the region, and the war will never end."
Antiwar activists argue that a U.S. intervention can only make things worse. The situation in Syria is incredibly complex. Few moderate rebels exist. Russia and Iran are neck deep in their own Syrian intervention. The Assad government has shown they care little for international law or even what their allies the Russians want them to do. U.S. citizens have little appetite for another major war in the Middle East. A full scale U.S. intervention won't work, or at best, we'll be stuck in another Afghanistan.
But the truth is that it is too late for the United States to wade deeper into the Syrian conflict without risking a major war, or, at best, looking feckless by failing to fully commit to confronting Russia and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and then backing down. The goal now should be reducing harm, saving lives and keeping prospects for a political deal alive. Cease-fire talks between the United States and Russia, tormented though they may be, remain the best way to achieve this.
Instead of ramping things up, antiwar activists say the government should continue to seek a ceasefire while continuing the fight against ISIS. It's not a satisfying answer but it's the one that will minimize death and suffering for all sides. It's not an easy solution but Syria is not an easy problem. There are simply no good options for a U.S. intervention.
The United States does, in fact, have a clear Syria policy: Roll back the Islamic State by way of the air campaign and American-supported Syrian rebel forces, coordinating with Russia to the extent possible; provide extensive humanitarian support; and continue to press for a sustainable cease-fire and a negotiated political transition involving Mr. Assad’s eventual departure. It may be frustrating, but against the alternatives, it is the only sensible course of action.
Seth is referring to reports of a new crematorium built at a large prison complex where regime prisoners are held. Experts believe the crematorium is being used to hide evidence of atrocities carried out by the Syrian government.
"Don't intervene in Syria, you'll only make it worse."