Putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria to counter the Islamic State and take on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime would be a mistake, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday.
"I don't believe the answer is sending boots on the ground to Syria," the Republican candidate for president told reporters in Washington. "President Obama — and I think far too many Republicans — are eager to get us in the middle of an internecine civil war in Syria. We don't have a dog in that fight."
Assad is a "monster" who has murdered women and children and gassed his own citizens, Cruz said, but handing the country over to warring extremist factions would be worse.
A fighter from the Islamic State, armed with a knife and an automatic weapon, is shown next to captured Syrian army soldiers and officers following the battle for the Tabqa air base in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State)
"The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend," he said. "And toppling Assad, if it results in radical Islamic terrorists taking over Syria, if it results in Al Qaeda or Al Nusra or ISIS taking over all of Syria, that would be a catastrophic mistake."
Some Republican candidates, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have said they would support putting U.S. boots on the ground in Syria.