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White House: No Plans for No-Fly Zone Over Syria

White House says a no-fly zone over Syria would be more difficult to set up than it was in Libya.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 6/15/2013, 1:14 AM

Smoke rises from Israel-Syria border
Smoke rises from Israel-Syria border
Reuters

The White House said on Friday that it is not planning to set up a no-fly zone over Syria.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters that it would be dramatically more difficult and costly to set up a no-fly zone over Syria than it was in Libya.

"We feel like the best course of action is to try to strengthen a moderate opposition," Rhodes said.

He said the United States did not want to send U.S. troops - or "boots on the ground" - to Syria, adding that enforcing a no-fly zone over the country could require intense, open-ended U.S. military engagement.

On Thursday, the U.S. government announced that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, adding that America will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response.

“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States, as there has long been an established norm within the international community against the use of chemical weapons,” Rhodes said.

Russia, however, said on Friday that is not convinced by the evidence which the U.S. provided alleging that the government of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons against rebel forces.

“The Americans tried to present us with information on the use of chemical weapons by the regime, but frankly we thought that it was not convincing,” said presidential aide Yury Ushakov.

A recent report indicated that the White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by the U.S. and other countries such as France and Great Britain.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)