Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

France urges partial no-fly zone

French defence minister Jean Yves Le Drian has called for international cooperation over a Syrian no-fly zone (AP)

The international community should consider enforcing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, France's defence minister said.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said completely closing Syria's airspace was equivalent to "going to war" and would require a willing international coalition that does not yet exist.

The minister, however, told television station France 24 that France would participate in such an operation if it followed international legal principles.

For now, though, he suggested that a partial closure - which US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Washington was considering - should be studied.

France, like other Western countries, is sending supplies to the rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad, but the international community has been reluctant to intervene in the conflict as it did in Libya.

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