SYRIA- A Syrian opposition leader in exile called Sunday for a no-fly zone in border areas to protect civilians who are coming under increasingly intense attacks by regime warplanes and helicopters.
As fighting continued escalating between government forces and rebels across the Mideast country; Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad need the protection of no-fly zones and safe havens patrolled by foreign forces near the borders with Jordan and Turkey, a Syrian opposition leader said.
The president of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Abdelbaset Sieda, told The Associated Press that such a move would show President Bashar Assad's regime that his opponents around the world are serious.
Abdelbaset Sieda, president of the Syrian National Council, said the international community should impose a no-fly zone near Syria's borders with Jordan and Turkey in order to counter air attacks by government troops.
He said the establishment of secure areas on the borders with Jordan and Turkey “was an essential thing that would confirm to the regime that its power is diminishing bit by bit”.
"Now that Syria's air force is taking part in bombing cities and towns, there must be protection for the Syrian people.” Sieda said.
"There must be a no-fly zone so that there will be safe havens to refugees," he added.
“There are areas that are being liberated,” Seida told Reuters by telephone from Istanbul. “But the problem is the aircraft, in addition to the artillery bombardment, causing killing, destruction.” he added according to Reuters.
Asked who will impose the no-fly zone, Sieda said: "We leave it to the international community."
Seida was speaking a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country and Turkey would study a range of possible measures to help President al-Assad’s foes, including a no-fly zone, although she indicated no decisions were necessarily imminent.
“It is one thing to talk about all kinds of potential actions, but you cannot make reasoned decisions without doing intense analysis and operational planning,” she said after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul.
Though any intervention appears to be a distant prospect, Clinton remarks were nevertheless the closest Washington has come to suggesting direct military action in Syria.
A no-fly zone imposed by NATO and Arab allies helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year. The West has shown little appetite for repeating any Libya-style action in Syria, and Russia and China strongly oppose any such intervention.
International press reports indicated Sunday that insurgents have expanded territory they hold near the Turkish border in the last few weeks since the Syrian army gathered its forces for an offensive to regain control of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and economic hub.
Syria's civil war has spread to almost every province in the country and the death toll has increased over the past weeks.
Activists say more than 20,000 people have been killed since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began in March 2011.