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Terrorism & Security

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.

By Correspondent / August 13, 2012

This image made from amateur video released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and accessed Monday, Aug. 13, purports to show a Free Syrian Army soldier after firing a recoiless rifle during clashes with Syrian government forces at the village of Mukhtariya in the suburbs of Homs, Syria.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights via AP video/AP

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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.

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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."

He said the establishment of safe areas on the borders with Jordan and Turkey "was an essential thing that would confirm to the regime that its power is diminishing bit by bit."

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.

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