Former Amb.: ‘Every Chance We’ll Lose Aircraft’ If U.S. Sends Planes Over Syria

By Eric Scheiner | August 28, 2013 | 11:36 AM EDT

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker at his swearing-in ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, July 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

( - Ryan Crocker, who was a career diplomat with long experience in the Middle East, and who served as the U.S. ambassador to Syria from 1998 to 2001, says “there’s every chance we’ll lose aircraft” if U.S. planes enter Syrian airspace.

During an August 23 National Public Radio (NPR) interview Crocker was asked about possible U.S. military action against Syria.

“I was in Lebanon when the Israelis invaded in June of 1982, and the entire Syrian air force was basically just destroyed in a matter of hours because of inadequate air defenses,” said Crocker.

“The Syrians learned from that and have spent decades with their Russian allies developing a highly advanced, well-integrated air defense system,” Crocker continued. “That's what makes a no-fly zone so much more dangerous in Syria than in, say, Iraq or Libya. There's every chance we would lose aircraft.”

Crocker also said the Syrian regime is in a fight for survival and will continue to fight regardless of threats of strikes from the U.S.

“Whatever we say or don't say, they are going to continue the fight. There's just no question about it. Whether we talked about red lines a year ago or did not talk about red lines a year ago, it doesn't change, I think, the calculus of the Syrian regime at all," Crocker said, "They are utterly ruthless and utterly determined to win a fight for their survival.”

Ryan Crocker has served as U.S. Ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993).

Crocker is currently Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Please support CNSNews today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

Eric Scheiner
Eric Scheiner
Eric is the Senior Video Producer for