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article imageSyria War: Obama to impose no-fly zone costing $50 million a day

By Eko Armunanto     Jun 14, 2013 in World
Claiming to have found evidence of chemical weapon being used in Syria civil war, the US proposes to arm the rebels in Jordan and imposing no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria, enforced using aircraft from Jordan – costing $50 million a day
Two senior Western diplomats said Washington is looking into a limited no-fly zone close to Syria's southern border with Jordan. Imposing a no-fly zone could require the United States to destroy Syria's sophisticated Russian-built air defenses, thrusting it into the war with the sort of action NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago.
But, officials say, creating even a limited buffer zone that Syrian airplanes cannot enter will be expensive, costing an estimated $50 million a day. Still, they say that a full no-fly zone covering all of Syria would cost far more money. The U.S. hopes the operation would be conducted with other allies, who could help pay for the cost of a no-fly zone. It could be imposed without a U.N. Security Council resolution, since the U.S. would not regularly enter Syrian airspace and wouldn't hold Syrian territory. To deploy air-to-air missiles that could destroy Syrian planes from long ranges, officials said aircraft may be required to enter Syrian air space if threatened by advancing Syrian planes. Such an incursion by the U.S., if it were to happen, could be justified as self-defense.
The United States claims to have revealed conclusive evidences that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against rebel forces. British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama are discussing their plan to warn Russian President and Syrian ally Vladimir Putin of the prospect of military intervention if he doesn't back down on Syria. The White House said the Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale multiple times in the last year. Up to 150 people have been killed in those attacks, constituting a small percentage of the 93,000 people killed in Syria over the last two years.
Responding to the claim, Assad’s regime represented by Foreign Ministry says the US had used fabricated information on chemical weapons to justify the move. “Washington was resorting to cheap tactics to justify Mr. Obama's decision to arm the rebels,” a statement from the ministry added. Also responding to the claim Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says the evidence shown does not look convincing, and cautions US against arming Syrian rebels. Yuri Ushakov, foreign policy adviser to Vladimir Putin, said US officials had briefed Russia on the allegations against Assad. “But I will say frankly that what was presented to us by the Americans does not look convincing. It would be hard even to call them facts,” he said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman told BBC that he remained against any further militarization of the conflict in Syria, saying the people there needed peace, not more weapons. Citing Turkey's state-run news agency, the BBC reported recently that 73 Syrian military officers, including seven generals, had crossed into the country with their families seeking refuge.
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