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Debating President Obama’s Syria policy and how it might change under Trump

Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on December 18, 2015. The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing a peace process to end the nearly five-year war in Syria.  AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on December 18, 2015.

The Syrian civil war has been raging for almost six years now, leaving more than half a million people dead and millions more displaced.

The Syrian civil war has been raging for almost six years now, leaving more than half a million people dead and millions more displaced.

Up to this point, the U.S. policy on Syria has been to monitor the situation but not to intervene. However, calls for U.S. intervention haveincreased in the last week after armed forces for Syrian president regainedfull control over Aleppo, the besieged city in Northern Syria near the Turkish border that has been a key to the anti-Assad rebellion. Some argue that the humanitarian crisis has risen to such a level that the U.S. must put its foot down and that despite the blow that fall of Aleppo deals to rebel forces, they won’t simply stop fighting. Others say that it’s too late for the U.S. to do anything at all about the humanitarian crisis emerging and that trying to indirectly intervene with airstrikes could complicate the conflict further and increase pressure for U.S. boots on the ground, which the American public would almost certainly not support.

What does the future of U.S. policy in Syria look like under a President Trump? What have we learned about the efficacy of the Obama Administration’s policy? Should the U.S. intervene in Syria or would that create more problems than it would solve?

Guests:

Phil Ewing, national security editor, NPR; he tweets

Joshua Landis, professor of international and area studies and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma; Landis’ blog is SyriaComment.com

Jessica Ashooh, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force; she was a senior policy planning analyst in the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a participant in the Geneva II peace talks

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