Fiorina: 'We must be prepared’ to use force on Russia
© Getty Images

Amid conflicting reports about Moscow targeting U.S.-allied groups in Syria, GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said late Wednesday that she backs military readiness against Russian forces.

“I believe we must tell the Russians that we will conduct [and] we will secure a no-fly zone around anti-Assad rebel forces that we’re supporting,” she said on Fox News’s "Hannity."

ADVERTISEMENT
“Does that mean we might use force against Russian jets?” host Sean Hannity then asked.

“Well, hopefully not,” Fiorina responded. "Hopefully, if we are signaling clearly to the Russians are intention, it will not come to that.”

“But if it does come to that, I think we must be prepared,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO added.

Russia began conducting its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday and continued on Thursday. Russian officials claim they are targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but reports indicate other groups and civilians have become casualties.

Fiorina argued that establishing protection for anti-Assad rebels is vital for U.S. interests overseas.

“This is a tricky maneuver, it’s a dangerous maneuver, but it’s a maneuver we must undertake because we must make it crystal clear to Russia that they do not get to move into the Middle East and become the dominant outside power, which is clearly their intention,” she said.

Fiorina, formerly CEO of Hewlett-Packard, additionally disputed Russia’s claims that it is fighting ISIS rather than anti-Assad forces in Syria.

“Russia’s intentions are to shore up and stabilize the Assad regime,” she said. "ISIS is a sort of camouflage.

“There is no doubt Russia will be conducting airstrikes against anti-Assad rebels,” Fiorina added. "Whether or not they happen to strike a few ISIS folks as well, is, I don’t know, to be determined.”

Fiorina charged that Moscow’s growing aggression in Syria is unsurprising given President Obama and Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: report MORE acting “unbelievably weak” against Putin’s moves there.

“It’s really a shame,” she said. "If you permit bad behavior, you get more bad behavior.”