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U.S., Turkey Discuss Syria No-fly Zone
August 11, 2012

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Turkey and the United States have discussed a number of options, including a no-fly zone, for ending the violent conflict in Syria. NATO and Arab nations employed a no-fly zone in Libya, which is no longer ruled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The discussion took place at a high-level meeting in Istanbul between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu. A similar discussion was to take place among Arab foreign ministers.

Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has been the target for many months now of an uprising against his authoritarian regime. Assad has responded with brutal force, with tanks and troops shelling both armed opposition fighters and unarmed civilians in all of the country's main cities. The central city of Homs, a hotbed of opposition to Assad, has been a particular of government shelling. Lately, the conflict has been hottest in Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, the city with the country's highest population.

As the conflict has dragged on and killed more than 15,000 people, according to international human rights groups, other nations have stepped up their support of opposition forces, with the latest development that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have now confirmed that they are shipping weapons to the Syrian opposition.

Assad has enjoyed support across the country but has also sparked quite a lot of outrage. The opposition does not have a common leader or common message. The most well-known opposition group is the Free Syrian Army, which is based in neighboring Turkey.

Along with the prolonged and increasingly armed opposition, Assad has suffered a number of high-profile defections, including a number of top military officers and government officials, most recently Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who left for neighboring Jordan with the message that Assad and his government should step down. Assad responded by naming a new prime minister, Wael al-Halki, a former health minister.



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