(OTTAWA) - Today, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May urged that Canada return to our more traditional role in the world as the crisis in Syria worsened.
"The bombing by Russian forces within Syria of rebel groups trained by the CIA under cover of a claim their target is ISIS brings into sharp relief the perils of air strikes against one rebel group in a civil war. Clearly Russia supports brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. We do not. Yet the US and Canada are bombing within Syria with strikes aimed at one of Assad's enemies. While we claim that our targeting of ISIS is not support for Assad, Russia can now claim its bombing within Syria is not meddling in the civil war in order to help Assad. Putin is hoisting the west on our own petard. The US and Canada made it possible to claim bombing raids in a civil war were acceptable, even though falling outside international law. The dangers of the Syrian civil war just rose as Russia and the US are now conducting military operations in the same country, while supporting different sides. Yet both can credibly claim to be targeting rebel forces only. The situation is grave.
It is time for calmer voices and cool heads. Canada must step up and, as a partner in the current mission, call for urgent talks engaging Russia, Iran, the US and our other allies. There is in this nightmarish escalation the potential for a new diplomatic engagement to avoid a head-on resumption of the old Cold War, only this time in a shooting war. Someone needs to make the first move to begin engagement to end the Syrian conflict. It should be Canada."
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