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ECR

No-fly zone urged as response to Syria chemical attack

27 August 2013

No-fly zone urged as response to Syria chemical attack

Western powers should urgently consider imposing a no-fly zone in Syria as the fairest and simplest proportionate response to the chemical weapons attacks in Damascus, a senior ECR Member suggested today.

Western powers should urgently consider imposing a no-fly zone in Syria as the fairest and simplest proportionate response to the chemical weapons attacks in Damascus, a senior ECR Member suggested today.

Charles Tannock, MEP for London and Conservative foreign-affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said the idea of a no-fly zone should be revisited in the absence of any United Nations Chapter 7 resolution.

He said: “There is a swirl of claim and counter-claim in the aftermath of this appalling atrocity, and I am sure the Assad regime will go to any lengths if it was responsible to obscure its guilt in such a despicable crime against its own people. At the same time the Al Qaida-led elements have proven to be just as vicious as Iran’s proxy fighters, such as Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, if on a smaller scale, as well as morally and politically objectionable.

“We must be extremely careful of unqualified or uncritical acceptance that Syria’s opposition are all in the right, just because the Baathist regime is so evidently in the wrong.

“In these circumstances, the best way forward to neutralise the means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction would be a no fly zone. This would clear the skies of warplanes and missiles and at least reduce the scale of the slaughter. We would also show Assad – and most of all his supporters – that he is far from being in absolute control.

“It would be better of course, if Russia would finally shift its position and allow the best efforts of the UN Security Council to start having some effect on the Damascus regime. Moscow must realise that it is abusing the privilege of permanent veto membership of the Security Council, as it is preventing the UN from ensuring peace and security in Syria. Russia’s credibility in the Arab world is crumbling, as well as its standing in the world.

“Therefore I believe that imposing a no-fly zone should be re-examined as a military option. This would require the unique capability that the United States Tomahawk Cruise Missiles can supply, but it would immediately restrict the means of delivery by the Syrian Government of weapons of mass destruction. It would also create a level field in what has become a proxy civil war, without the risks involved in deploying troops. This seems fair and proportionate.”

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