Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested Saturday that he supports the U.S.'s continued arming and funding of so-called moderate rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but contrasted himself with front-runner Hillary Clinton by opposing the establishment of a unilateral American no-fly zone in the country.
"We must be very careful about not making a complex and dangerous situation in Syria even worse. I support President Obama's effort to combat the Islamic State in Syria while at the same time supporting those in Syria trying to overthrow the brutal dictatorship of Bashar Assad," Sanders said in a statement, reported The Washington Post.
The Vermont independent Senator added: "I oppose, at this point, a unilateral American no-fly zone in Syria which could get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region."
In a television interview broadcast Thursday, Clinton proposed implementing a no-fly zone in Syria to deter Assad and Russia from flying warplanes and helicopters, as well as to protect civilians and U.S.-backed rebels.
"I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what's happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees," Clinton said, reported The Washington Times.
The move is a risky undertaking that could see U.S. aircraft engage directly with Russian and Syrian fighter jets, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
No-fly zones have also been proposed recently by Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
President Obama, however, distanced himself from the idea on Friday, saying an "easy, low-cost answer" should be approached with caution, according to CNN.
"I think Hillary Clinton would be the first to say that when you're sitting in the seat that I'm sitting in in the situation room, things look a little bit different. Because she's been right there next to me," he said. "I also think there's a difference between running for president and being president."