French Defense Minister Open to Partial Syria No-Fly Zone

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth.

With violence raging in Syria, the possibility of a partial no-fly zone over part of Syria appeared to gain traction on Thursday as a French official expressed a willingness to back the concept. According to a report by France 24, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with the station that a no-fly zone stretching from Turkey to the Syrian city of Aleppo, was worthy of consideration.  Aleppo is currently the most vicious battleground in the country.

Drian was referring to such a plan previously mentioned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite the comments by Clinton, the US has so far repeatedly stressed its desire to this point not to enter into a military conflict in Syria as it did in Libya. A full no-fly zone was implemented by NATO in Libya.

Drian said he did not want such a complete zone at this stage, as he too is disinterested in going to war in Syria—at least not without broader international agreement.

The comments came one day after Amnesty International released a report detailing violence against civilians in the city of Aleppo. According to a press release by the human rights group, the Syrian regime is using indiscriminate air and artillery attacks that are killing innocent civilians. Amnesty’s press release said the attacks “appeared to be randomly directed at neighborhoods from where opposition fighters operate or are based.”

“Civilians face a daily barrage of air and artillery strikes by government forces in different parts of the city,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response advisor, who recently visited Aleppo personally. “For many, there is simply nowhere safe; families constantly live under fear of the next attack.”

The report also expressed concern about abuses, “unlawful killings” and indiscriminate attacks by opposition forces, although the release focused on the wrongful actions of government forces. It noted the “overwhelming majority” of “victims” killed were by regime air strikes and artillery.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, August 24, 2012)