Syrian rebels seek no-fly zone to level playing field with Assad
A no-fly zone imposed by NATO and Arab allies helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Qaddafi last year. But the West has shown little appetite for any Libya-style action in Syria.
The fate of the the Assad regime depends on who controls the skies over Syria, say rebel leaders as they call upon the international community to create a no-fly zone over the beleaguered country.Skip to next paragraph
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Haaretz reports that rebel commanders are vocal in their requests for an internationally established no-fly zone over Syria, even amid reports of the rebels shooting down a regime jet fighter in the eastern part of the country.
"What is hindering our movements to take control of more areas [in Syria] is the constant bombardment launched by the regime jets," Abu Alaa, a Syrian Free Army commander in Aleppo, told Deutsche Press Agentur. "Imposing a no-fly zone is essential for us to continue our fight."
Abdelbasset Sida, head of the anti-Assad Syrian National Council, made similar statements this weekend, reports Reuters. "There are areas that are being liberated," Mr. Sida told Reuters by telephone from Istanbul. "But the problem is the aircraft, in addition to the artillery bombardment, causing killing, destruction."
Clinton: No-fly zone an option
Sida added that the US realizes that a no-fly zone is "essential" to the rebels' success. His comments come on the heels of a meeting over the weekend between US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul to determine a course of action to help the rebels in their efforts against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Although Ms. Clinton did not indicate any immediate measures to aid the rebels, she did acknowledge that a no-fly zone was among the options under consideration.