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Establish a No-Fly Zone in Syria

5:32 PM, Jul 26, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Such "safe zones" would serve as a destination for civilians fleeing violence.  They would also provide the country's opposition groups-which have actively stood up to the Assad regime's relentless aggression, and bravely defended their cities, towns, and villages in the absence of decisive international action - a place to train, be equipped, and organize.  Indeed, "safe zones" would make it easier for the United States and like-minded nations to reliably provide critical non-lethal aid, including secure communications technologies and field hospital equipment, as well as self-defense assistance, to carefully vetted recipients.  "Safe zones" could also serve as a venue for U.S. and allied officials to work with Syria's future leaders to plan and prepare for a post-Assad Syria and explore options, such as an international peacekeeping force, that could limit chaos and sectarian conflict and prevent the proliferation of Assad's weapons of mass destruction.

America's continued inaction in Syria risks becoming what you called in your 2009 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, "complicity in oppression," and only serves to undermine our interests and embolden our enemies.  It is clear that the United States cannot outsource its strategic and moral responsibilities to cynical great powers, regional actors who do not fully share our values, or international mediators.  Only resolved U.S. leadership has the potential to halt the bloodshed and ensure the emergence of a Syria that advances America's national security interests.  We urge you to exercise such leadership immediately.


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