Senator: US at risk of military conflict with Russia and Iran in Syria
Posted June 20
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned Tuesday that the United States could be edging toward a military conflict with Iran and Russia in Syria.
"I think we're getting closer and closer to open conflict with Iran and Russia, and the American public needs to know that we're moving very fast toward what could be another war inside the Middle East," Murphy told anchor Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day," "something by the way that Donald Trump promised he wouldn't do when he ran for office."
Murphy's remarks came two days after a US Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane for the first time, prompting Russia to issue a threat against American airborne assets over Syrian airspace. And on Monday, a US fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone in southeastern Syria.
Both the United States and Russia contend their forces are in Syria to fight ISIS. Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran also supports, while the US-led coalition is aligned with groups that oppose the Assad regime and ISIS.
Syrian conflict moves into dangerous territory
Murphy said that President Donald Trump does not have the authority to act on his own to fight a war in Syria and that he must gain permission from Congress, which he said should be denied.
"There's no authorization for military force that Congress has passed that gives the President the ability to take military action against the Syrian regime," said the senator, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"And we have to understand what we're getting involved in, right. You are not just fighting Bashar al-Assad," Murphy said. "If you're going to ramp up military activity against Assad, you are also going in against Iran and Russia."
Raising concerns over what he called "a dangerous escalation," the lawmaker said it wasn't in American interests to get involved in Syria's civil war. "That would be another mistake on the scope of the Iraq War," he said.