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US: Syrian no-fly zone not 'viable option'

Obama adviser says move would not ‘essentially’ change conditions on the ground

US: Syrian no-fly zone not 'viable option'


 The United States does not consider a no-fly zone in Syria to be feasible, an adviser to President Barack Obama said Thursday.

"We are open to evaluating different options inside of Syria, but we have not seen a no-fly zone as being a viable option that can contribute to essentially changing decisively the situation on the ground, given the nature of the fighting that's taking place in urban areas and across the country," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

Turkey has urged a no-fly zone to thwart Syrian military aircraft in the country, but the Obama administration has been reluctant to pursue the strategy.  

The announcement comes as the State Department announced that Special Envoy to Syria Daniel Rubinstein will travel May 15-27 to Geneva, Moscow, Ankara, Istanbul, and Riyadh to participate in UN-facilitated Syria talks with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. 

Rubinstein will also meet with other government officials, as well as Syrian opposition leaders. 

"This trip reaffirms the United States’ strong commitment to working with the international community and the moderate Syrian opposition to create conditions for a negotiated political transition as the only means to end the ongoing conflict," the State Department said in a statement.

President Barack Obama opened a summit Thursday with representatives from six Arab Gulf allies at Camp David, Maryland, with the Syrian civil war expected to be one of the main topics on the agenda.

Rhodes said the U.S. is open to hearing other possible solutions to the crisis that may come from the summit. "We have had ongoing discussions, and if our partners have ideas, you know, we always hear them out and we're always looking at what other additional steps that we could take to support a more stable outcome in Syria," he said.

More than 200,000 victims have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in 2011 between Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces, according to the United Nations.

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