The administration of US President Barack Obama has called on the Pentagon to draw up plans to impose no-fly zones over Syria, a report says.
Two unidentified Obama administration officials told The Daily Beast in a report published on Tuesday that the White House request was made just before US Secretary of State John Kerry started his Middle East tour last week.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters, said that Obama is pursuing a “dual-track strategy” of making efforts towards a political solution to the two-year crisis in Syria while simultaneously preparing plans for military intervention.
“The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been,” said one official.
All this meant to find a political solution, stated the official, adding “but what happens if Geneva fails? It’s only prudent to plan for other options.”
On Sunday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the government of President Bashar al-Assad will participate in an international peace conference on the Syrian crisis that is likely to take place in Geneva in June.
At a meeting in Moscow on May 7, Russia and the United States reached an agreement to convene an international conference on Syria, which would serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Assad said on May 23, “Syria is determined to tackle terrorism and those who support it regionally and globally, and to find a political solution to the crisis.”