“What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria,” Trump told The Guardian. “You’re going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.” He continued: “You’re not fighting Syria anymore, you’re fighting Syria, Russia, and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk.”
“I do think that it presents escalation risks,” Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who was formerly a country director for Syria at the Department of Defense, told Business Insider. “If the US decides to pursue a safe zone, it needs to do so in the broader framework that looks at what sort of levers, what sort of coercive measures can the US bring to bear on Russia, Assad, and Iran to ensure that the safe zone is not violated and to mitigate the risks of military confrontation.”
Besides recapturing the dam, SDF said the U.S.-backed operation also aimed to block any advance by Syrian government forces from the west.