Syria militants ask American senator for US targeted strikes on Hezbollah

US Republican Senator John McCain (center) breifly slips into Syria to meet with leaders of foreign-sponsored militants.

Hawkish US Republican Senator John McCain has slipped into Syria to meet with foreign-backed insurgent commanders, who asked for US bombing of Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, “targeted strikes,” and the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria.

McCain’s brief and largely publicity intrusion into Syria came on Monday near Syria’s Bab Salameh border crossing with Turkey, where he reportedly held talks with leaders of foreign-sponsored militant group, so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), according to his spokesman Brian Rogers cited in US-based press reports.

During McCain’s meeting with Gen. Salim Idriss, leader of FSA’s “Supreme Military Council,” and other militant commanders, Idriss asked the US to supply the insurgent gangs with “heavy weapons, set up a no-fly zone in Syria and conduct airstrikes on Hezbollah,” the Islamic resistance movement in Lebanon, The Los Angeles Times reports on Tuesday.

Idriss further described McCain’s visit as “very useful,” and called on “the US government to take the decision to support” the militant gangs “with weapons and ammunition, antitank missiles and antiaircraft weapon.”

“Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria,” Idriss is also cited as saying.

FSA’s political and media coordinator, Louay al-Mokdad further said of McCain’s meeting with anti-Damascus militant leaders: “We asked about targeted strikes… He (McCain) was very open and promised to push for us with the US administration.”

Al-Mokdad is further quoted as saying in a Washington Postarticle on Tuesday that the US senator and the militant gang leaders also “discussed solutions to help remove” President Bashar al-Assad from power amid growing reports on faltering “military and diplomatic efforts to oust him.”

The US-based dailies, however, do not elaborate on what the foreign-backed militant leaders might mean by asking for US “targeted” or “strategic strikes” in Syria and against Hezbollah, but observers believe that they are referring to the use of assassination drones used as part of the Obama administration’s controversial targeted-killing program.

According to the Times report, McCain was not able to meet with many of the foreign-backed militant commanders as planned “because of the Syrian government offensive in Qusayr,” a major city on its border with Lebanon, where the US and the anti-Damascus militants have expressed serious concerns about major Syrian gains, alleging a Hezbollah support role.

“Part of the difficulty in arranging this meeting is that many of the commanders McCain was hoping to meet were on the front lines in Qusayr,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, political director of the US-based Syrian Emergency Task Force, who accompanied the American Senator into the Syrian territory.

O’Bagy, whose “nonprofit” group provides support for the foreign-sponsored militants inside Syria, further said that McCain’s office “approached the task force two weeks ago about visiting with rebel leader,” the report adds.

McCain’s covert intrusion into Syria, the report adds, came as part of his Middle East tour, during which he has “met with officials from Egypt and Lebanon, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Jordan and visited American troops in Turkey.

While in Jordan, the pro-Israeli American Senator, who is the top Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has also called for the installation of US Patriot batteries on Jordan’s border with Syria as a “first step” in establishing a “buffer zone inside Syria” to better facilitate Washington’s military backing of anti-Damascus insurgents and a possible invasion of the country.

We are prepared to take every step to protect the Jordanian regime’s stability, its people and its territory. The provision of Patriot missiles comes under this protection,” he reportedly said in a interview with Jordan Times newspaper.

Source: Press TV

Russia’s Lavrov calls ‘unacceptable’ no-fly zone over Syria


The formation of a no-fly zone over Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes.

“I have heard the comments of U.S. military representatives. It is not the first time when the concept of security zones and no-fly zones is mentioned. If these zones are going to cover the territory of the Syrian state, this will constitute a violation of its sovereignty and of the U.N. Charter,” he said in an interview with Sky News Arabia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Aug. 11 that Washington and Turkey were looking at all measures to help Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, including a no-fly zone.

Lavrov said there exist special mechanisms and instruments for easing the position of refugees and displaced persons. “UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos has been in Damascus and other parts of Syria these days. There is the consent of the Syrian government to resolve these issues,” he said.

He added that there is the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that is ready to help those who are staying at camps in Turkey, Jordan and other countries.

“The problems of the security of civilians should be tackled through these methods tested by international humanitarian law. If attempts are made to create no-fly zones and security zones for military purposes on the pretext of the humanitarian crisis, this is unacceptable,” Lavrov said.

No-fly zones imposed by NATO and Arab allies helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year.

Source: KyivPost

No-fly zone on the horizon in Syria? French Foreign Minister in PROPAGANDA MODE


As international pressure against Syrian regime is ratcheting up France has urged to use UN-sanctioned force to implement Kofi Annan peace plan with a no-fly zone being an option.


In his strongest statement on Syria French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius proposed making the six-point peace plan obligatory by invoking the UN’s “Charter 7” provision which allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention.

“The situation in Syria has taken an even more serious and horrid turn,” he said as quoted by Reuters. “We have been informed that children are being used as human shields by the regime, placed in front of tanks, tortured, raped and assassinated.”

“To stop this civil war from getting worse, we have to find a way for Assad to leave power and find a way for the opposition to create an alternative transition. But it’s clear today … that it is a civil war.”

The French foreign minister said that a no-fly zone was an option that would be under discussion to stop the “massacres.”

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‘US to announce aerial blockade on Syria’ ?

US readies for possibility of intervention without UN resolution, Asharq Al-Awsat reports, citing US military official; plan to include humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees on Turkey’s border

The Pentagon is readying for the possibility of intervention in Syria, aiming to halt Syrian President Bashsar Assad’s violent crackdown on protesters, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday, citing a US military offical.

According to the official, the intervention scenario calls for the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish border, in order to receive Syrian refugees. The Red Cross would then provide the civilians humanitarian aid, before NATO crews would arrive from Turkey and join the efforts.

The measure would pave the way for the US to declare an aerial blockade on Syria.

The intercession is to be modeled after NATO’s efforts in Kosovo, which brought an end to the Serbian control of the region. NATO’s plan of action included prolonged aerial shelling.

The US’ diplomatic efforts have yet to yield an effective international resolution that would stop the bloodshed. More than 100 protesters have died over the weekend alone, human rights activists said.

Russia, China to join aid efforts?
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Pentagon does not anticipate a change of heart on the part of China or Russia, who have opposed foreign intervention or sanctions against Syria. But the US expects the two nations to join the humanitarian aid efforts, support a ceasefire between the Syrian regime and rebels and send special UN envoys to investigate the developments in the country.

The next step in the reported US Department of Defense plan would be to appoint a team of UN observers to monitor the humanitarian aid, and enter Syria. They would need aerial protection, which would eventually lead to an aerial blockade.

The military official said in the interview that the plan is a cautious one, and takes into account the Syrian air force’s advanced capabilities.

In his most forceful words to date on the Syrian crisis, US President Barack Obama said Friday the US and its allies would use “every tool available” to end the bloodshed by Assad’s government.

“It is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government,” Obama said in Washington, adding that it “absolutely imperative for the international community to rally and send a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition. It is time for that regime to move on.”

As government troops relentlessly shelled rebel-held neighborhoods in the besieged city of Homs, thousands of people in dozens of towns staged anti-regime protests under the slogan: “We will revolt for your sake, Baba Amr,” referring to the Homs neighborhood that has become the center of the Syrian revolt.

“Opposition groups” reported that 103 people were killed on Friday by the regime’s forces.

(Source: YnetNews)

West Planning No-fly Zone to Aid Syrian “Rebels”

January 12, 2012 “Bloomberg” – -Russia received information that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and some Persian Gulf countries are preparing military intervention in Syria, the head of the Russian Security Council said.

Turkey, a NATO member, may play a key role, Nikolai Patrushev, who used to head the country’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, told Interfax in comments confirmed by his office. The U.S. and Turkey are working on a possible no-fly zone to protect Syrian rebels, Patrushev said.

“We are receiving information that NATO members and some Persian Gulf states, working under the ‘Libyan scenario’, intend to move from indirect intervention in Syria to direct military intervention,” the Russian security chief said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria should end after failing to deter the government’s 10-month campaign of violence against dissidents. She spoke after meeting Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, a day after President Barack Obama held talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal at the White House.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and NATO’s press service in Brussels didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Russia, which has Soviet-era ties with Syria, argues that United Nations-sanctioned bombing of Libya by NATO to protect civilians was used to bring about regime change and that Western governments are trying to repeat that scenario in Syria.

Iranian Alliance

The West is putting pressure on Syria because the country refuses to break off its alliance with Iran and not for repressing the opposition, said Patrushev, who served with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the Soviet-era KGB.

“This time, it won’t be France, the U.K. and Italy that will provide the main strike forces, but perhaps neighboring Turkey, which was until recently on good terms with Syria and is a rival of Iran with immense ambitions,” Patrushev said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected calls for his resignation on Jan. 10, accusing “foreign conspiracies” of aiming to divide his country. Unrest in Syria since March 2011 has claimed more than 5,000 lives, according to the United Nations.

The Arab League imposed sanctions on Syria on Nov. 27. Russia and China have blocked efforts by the U.S. and the European Union for the UN Security Council to condemn the crackdown.

Russia, which has a naval base in Syria and sells weapons to the Middle Eastern country, is more concerned that Islamic radicals may come to power, said Irina Zvyagelskaya, a Middle East analyst at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

Russian Fear

“Our fear is that Syria could collapse and extremist Islamic forces will seize control that no one will be pleased about,” Zvyagelskaya said in a phone interview today. “This could destabilize the entire region.”

While Russia would block any effort to seek UN approval for a no-fly zone in Syria thanks to its veto-wielding power as a permanent member of the Security Council, Western nations and their allies may form a coalition like they did for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, said the analyst.

“There are scenarios which different countries are looking at,” Zvyagelskaya said. “We have seen before what a no-fly zone means, it will be used to overthrow the regime.”

No-Fly Zone

Defectors from Assad’s army who have set up an opposition force called the Free Syrian Army called at the end of last year for a no-fly zone and two buffer areas with international backing as they seek to topple the Syrian government.

The group wants a buffer zone in the north, on the Turkish- Syrian border, and another in the south near the border with Jordan to help them bring the fight closer to Assad, Riad al As’ad, a former Syrian colonel who leads the Free Syrian Army, said in a phone interview from Turkey on Nov. 18.

Russia may have obtained intelligence about Western military plans in Syria or may be sending a signal that it will actively oppose any such efforts, said Fyodor Lukyanov, an analyst at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow.

“After the Libyan experience, Russia will do everything to stop this scenario from happening,” he said in a phone interview. “Syria is much more important than Libya from Russia’s point of view.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

Report: US & Arab States Set To Impose No Fly Zone Over Syria

Plan to cripple Assad’s military forces within 24 hours


By Paul Joseph Watson
Wedneday, November 23, 2011

Reports out of Kuwait suggest that Arab states are set to impose a no fly zone over Syria with US logistical support, advancing the prospect of a military assault to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under a “humanitarian” pretext.

“Senior European sources said that Arab jet fighters, and possibly Turkish warplanes, backed by American logistic support will implement a no fly zone in Syria’s skies, after the Arab League will issue a decision, under its Charter, calling for the protection of Syrian civilians,” reports Albawaba, citing Kuwait’s al Rai daily.

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