Carson: Syria plan would focus on Putin

Story highlights

  • Ben Carson said Sunday his plan for Syria would focus heavily on Russian President Vladimir Putin's influence there
  • Carson also said he supports President Barack Obama's decision to send troops there, but more is needed

Washington (CNN)Ben Carson laid out his plan for handling war-torn Syria on Sunday, with a heavy focus on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"My much bigger plan involves, you know, Putin and Iran also," Carson said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "Those are the forces that are propping up the Assad regime. And even though Putin came in there and said he was going to fight ISIS, he's really fighting the anti-Assad forces. What we need to be thinking about is how do we oppose him?"
It's a tricky situation for whoever will take the White House next year: finding a way to curb Putin's influence, while not heightening tensions with Russia. In Syria, Carson said he would establish a no-fly zone along the border with Turkey, adding, "We should be doing this in communication with Putin to try and decrease the likelihood of conflict and keeping the forces apart."
    Carson said he supports President Barack Obama's decision to send a small number of troops to the region, but it's only a "small part" of what needs to be a comprehensive plan in Syria.
    "I think it's a good idea, I actually agree with that," Carson said. "But I think that that's only a small part of it, we need to have a much bigger plan when it comes to battling the global jihadist -- because they have big ideas about what they want to do to us and to our way of life."
    Carson then pivoted away from Syria to Ukraine and the Baltic region, saying that the U.S. must step up forces there, as well, to handle Putin's growing influence.
    "We need to reestablish ourselves in that area," Carson said. "We need to give Ukraine offensive weapons. We need to reestablish a missile defense system in the eastern bloc of countries so that we oppose him. Let's keep him on the run, we need to recognize that, you know, his fuel is oil. And we need to do everything we can to develop our energy resources at an economical rate so that we keep the oil prices down, which keeps him in his little box."