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NATO chief: No plans for alliance action in Syria

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:29 AM EDT
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- NATO's chief said for the first time Friday that the alliance has no plans for military action in Syria because of the alleged use of chemical weapons against its civilians.
 
Asked about the alleged deadly attack in a suburb of Damascus on Aug. 21, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen pointed the finger at Syrian forces.  "It demands cynicism beyond what is reasonable to believe that the opposition is behind a chemical attack in an area it already largely controls," he said.
 
On Wednesday, Fogh Rasmussen said, "Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered.  Those responsible must be held accountable."
 
But on Friday he told reporters in Denmark that NATO has no plans to intervene in Syria, which would require the approval of all 28 of its members.
 
Supporters of a proposed no-fly zone in Syria have pointed to the one that was established by NATO over Libya in 2011. It overwhelmed Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses and attacked tanks and military vehicles that threatened civilians. 
 NATO chief: No plans for alliance action in Syria


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 

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