Report: US considering Syrian no-fly zone

Pentagon spokesman denies 'Daily Beast' report US plans no-fly zone, arming moderate rebel groups; Russia defends arms deal.

May 29, 2013 05:50
2 minute read.
Syrian military plane

Syrian military plane 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Sana Sana)

The Obama administration has reportedly requested the Pentagon draft a prospective no-fly zone inside Syria to be recognized by the US and other Western nations, the Daily Beast on Tuesday cited two White House official as saying.

Republican Senator John McCain, an outspoken advocate in favor of arming the Syrian rebels against Syrian President Bashar Assad,

On the other side of the conflict, Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin defended his country's arms deal with the Assad regime, saying the sale of anti-ship missiles, warships and S-300 anti-aircraft missiles was "a transparent arms sale that has nothing to do with the conflict in Syria," maintaining the contracts were signed before the two-year civil war began.

Speaking on Christiane Amanpour's CNN show on Tuesday, Vitaly insisted the weapons his country sold Damascus were meant "for regional stability" and to prevent foreign military intervention in the Syrian conflict.

The Russian envoy also addressed Israeli concerns that weapons supplied to Syria will reach the wrong hands.

"There were situations in the past where the Israelis expressed their concern about the ultimate address of our weapons and we're double-checking with the Syrians... we were able to ascertain that was not the case, and [the weapons shipments] were not redirected to anybody else, and continue to be in the hands of the Syrian government," he said.

He also cautioned Israel against interference in Syria, saying he believes "the Israelis will keep their heads cool and refrain from reckless actions."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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