US not keen on setting up no-fly zone over Syria: Panetta
Washington, Aug. 14 (ANI): U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that plans to set up a no-fly zone over parts of Syria are 'not on the front burner,' despite constant calls from Syrian rebel forces that they need the added protection from escalating regime air strikes.
Panetta said that he is confident the U.S. could successfully enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, but doing so would require a 'major, major policy decision' that has not yet been made.
"We have planned for a number of contingencies that could take place and one of those possible contingencies is developing a no-fly zone. But we've also pointed out difficulties in being able to implement that," the Herald Sun quoted Panetta, as saying.
"It's not on the front burner as far as I know," Panetta added.
Panetta said that currently the U.S. is focused on ensuring chemical and biological weapons in Syria are secure, and on providing humanitarian and non-lethal assistance to the rebels, the report added.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had recently said that Washington and Turkey are discussing a range of steps, including a no-fly zone over some parts of Syria.
Rebel leaders have expressed frustration that the United States has limited its assistance to non-lethal aid.
The US and its NATO allies had successfully enforced a no-fly zone over Libya last year, as rebels there made gains and eventually ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi. (ANI)
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