WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Friday morning will advocate for certain areas of Syria to be designated as sanctuaries from violence for civilians and made no-fly zones given Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to target Islamic State there with air strikes.
According to a statement provided to Reuters, the Ohio governor will say: "Russia's recent military build-up and intervention in Syria are neither intended to defeat ISIS nor to relieve the suffering of Syrian refugees. Mr. Putin's real goals are quite different: to take military action to rescue Assad's criminal government from its death and to strengthen Russia's strategic position in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is unacceptable and must stop."
Concerned that Saudi Arabia will intervene militarily as a consequence of Russia's actions, Kasich will say: "To prevent further escalation and suffering by civilians and refugees, the U.S. and its regional and West European allies need to establish sanctuary areas in Syria that are protected by 'no fly zones.'"
Kasich, who is campaigning on Friday in New Hampshire, has previously called for American combat troops to join troops from coalition partners to battle Islamic State in Syria. In his statement he reiterated the urgent need for action immediately "or potentially pay a much higher price later."
"The United States, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and the Arab League should deploy a regional coalition of ground troops to defeat al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq," he added. "The coalition should be regionally led. It should remain deployed until a transitional council can achieve a regional commitment to a sustainable political solution that will restore peace and security to Syria and Iraq."
(Reporting by Erin McPike; Editing by Leslie Adler)