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France considers partial no-fly zone over Syria
In an interview on FRANCE 24, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the possibility of setting up a partial no-fly zone over Syria deserved to be examined. But he reiterated that France would not enter into a war without a UN mandate.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the possibility of a no-fly zone stretching from the Turkish border to the city of Aleppo deserved to be considered, in an interview Thursday on FRANCE 24. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the idea previously on August 11 in Ankara, Turkey.
“The idea of a no-fly over a particular part of Syria, as suggested by Hillary Clinton, should be examined,” he said.
However, he expressed his opposition to establishing such a zone over all of Syria, an act which he said would amount to a declaration of war. “A no-fly zone over all of Syria….could only be set up if there were an international coalition capable of doing it. For the moment, [that coalition] does not exist.”
Le Drian continued, saying that “France is not going to go to war against Syria on its own”, and adding that the Syrian crisis would never be resolved unless President Bashar al-Assad left power.
Asked about the fragmented Syrian opposition, Le Drian struck a reassuring tone. “The opposition is not yet entirely solidified,” he noted, “but we are increasing our efforts to support a robust Syrian opposition that is capable of taking the reins of the country, and, above all, of respecting all Syrian communities.”
The Syrian uprising has resulted in the deaths of some 23,000 people since it began in March 2011, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.