The Right Way to Create Safe Zones in Syria

Six Steps for the Trump Administration

Crossing a highway in Aleppo, Syria, January 2015. Jalal Al-Mamo / REUTERS

In response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s sarin gas attack on civilians in rebel-held areas in April, U.S. President Donald Trump launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase. Over three weeks later, the world is no closer to understanding what his administration hopes to achieve in Syria. The strikes marked the first time the United States has used force in the country in response to Assad’s atrocities, and it is unclear whether it will be the last.

After seven years of conflict, some 11 million Syrians have fled their homes or died trying, and that number is sure to grow without international involvement. If the Trump administration is serious about protecting Syrians fleeing Assad and ISIS, one policy option stands out: safe zones. During the campaign, Trump even advocated for “build[ing] a big beautiful safe zone” in Syria. Trump recently reemphasized his support for safe zones during

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