“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.

“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.”