The options for US interference include what American officials have called the “unlikely” option of imposing a no-fly zone over the Arab country.
The process led by US National Security Council Director Steve Simon is expected to involve top members of the State, Defense and Treasury Departments and focus on ways to “aid” the Syrian opposition.
Other possibilities include providing “humanitarian aid” to rebel forces and establishing a “safe zone” inside Syrian territory, presumably through military means, near the Turkish border.
Establishing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria would likely involve large-scale attacks on the Syrian air defense and military command-and-control systems.
The possible resort to military force is believed to indicate the futility of a new round of sanctions the US has slapped against Damascus.
On Wednesday, the head of an Arab League (AL) delegation investigating the unrest in Syria described the situation in the crisis-hit city of Homs as ”reassuring”.
“There were some places where the situation was not good. But there wasn’t anything frightening, at least while we were there. Things were calm and there were no clashes,” Sudanese General Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi said.
Dabi’s remarks disappointed a number of Western countries, who were expecting an anti-Syria report from the AL delegation.