The Current

Syria's refugee crisis fuels new calls for a no-fly zone

While the world scrambles to respond to the flow of refugees out of Syria, new calls are emerging for a measure that may finally make life in the country more bearable: Stop the Assad regime's ability to scramble its jets and bomb its citizens by enacting a Syrian no-fly zone.
Could a no-fly zone finally bring some stability to Syria? (Achilleas Zavallis/AFP/Getty Images)
In Homs, the situation is too bad. No electricity, no water, no good circumstances to live in. We can't go out, we can't go to school.- Syrian refugee Hamza, mother of three

Like many Syrian refugees, Hamza says she feels lucky to be alive. She spoke to the BBC's Matthew Price last week and related the story of how she, her husband and their three children made the harrowing journey out of Syria, through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and on to Hungary. They don't yet know where they'll end up.


Among other things, the steady line of refugees fleeing Syria for safe haven in Europe is a reminder of just how bad the situation there has become. It's estimated that more than 300,000 people have died in the four-year-old civil war.

Of course Canada has joined in the bombing campaign against ISIS -- one of the major jihadist threats in the region.But by far the most violence against Syrian civilians is coming from the regime of Bashar al Assad.

By one count, the regime has killed more people just with barrel bombs than ISIS and Al Qaeda have in total.

  • Faysal Itaniis a Resident Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He thinks it's time for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, by promising to shoot down any regime aircraft that takes to the skies. He was in Washington, D.C.
  • Emma Ashford is a Visiting Research Fellow in Defence and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington. She opposes a a no-fly zone because she feels the consequences are unpredictable and could easily make the situation worse.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.