• Syria casualty reportsUpdated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic
Commissioned by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
report by Megan Price, Jeff Klingner, Anas Qtiesh, and Patrick Ball,
13 June 2013 (PDF).
This report presents findings integrated from seven databases built by Syrian human rights monitors and one database collected by the Syrian government. The databases collect information about conflict-related violent deaths—killings—that have been reported in the Syrian Arab Republic between March 2011 and April 2013.
Stolen Futures: The Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria
Oxford Research Group, 24 November 2013.
Violations Documentation Center in Syria
Anti-Assad monitoring group says Syrian death toll passes 130,000
Reuters, 31 December 2013.
• What is a No-Fly Zone?What can it achieve? What does it require? What are its limitations and risks?
Denying Flight: Strategic Options for Employing No-Fly Zones
Paper by Karl P. Mueller, RAND Corporation, 2013 (PDF).
In the past two decades, the U.S. Air Force has participated in three contingencies involving NFZs over Bosnia, Iraq, and Libya, and NFZ proposals have been proffered for some time as an option for intervention in the Syrian civil war that would avoid placing Western troops on the ground. This paper is intended as a preliminary look at NFZs as a strategic approach in such situations, with an emphasis on the forms they might take, their potential utility, and their probable limitations.
Airpower Options for Syria: Assessing Objectives and Missions for Aerial Intervention
by Karl P. Mueller, Jeffrey Martini, Thomas Hamilton, RAND Corporation, 2013.
A detailed look at various possible air missions, their requirements, risks, effectiveness, and value.
A Syrian No Fly Zone: Options and Constraints
A discussion at the US Institute of Peace, 29 May 2013. The participants were Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Lt. General David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Jon Alterman, and Joseph Holliday. Moderated by Steven Heydemann, USIP.
Potential No-Fly Zone Over Syria
Summary by Arvid Hallberg, European Parliamentary Research Service, 11 June 2013.
Strategic Horizons: For Syria No-Fly Zone, Less Is More
Steven Metz looks at limited-objective options for a no-fly zone, World Politics Review, 3 July 2013.
Required Sorties and Weapons to Degrade Syrian Air Force Excluding Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)
By Christopher Harmer, Senior Naval Analyst, Institute for the Study of War 31 July 2013 (PDF).
Analysis of a less than full no-fly zone option.
How much would a no-fly zone over Syria cost?
By Kevin Baron, Foreign Policy magazine, 7 May 2013.
CNN Fact Check: Comparing costs of Iraq, Libya missions
CNN Wire Staff, 23 October 2012.
NB While the Libya mission included a no-fly zone, it was intended from the start as a wider mission to protect civilians from ground attack as well as from air attack. This wider aim entailed greater cost and greater risk than would have been the case with a pure no-fly zone.
The Patriots are here, Now what?
Summary of a report by Shashank Joshi and Aaron Stein for RUSI, Turkey Wonk blog, 6 March 2013.
… the cost of using the Patriot Pac-3 missile for the establishment of a NFZ would be prohibitively expensive. A single Pac-3 costs between $3 and $4 million – an incredibly large sum when one considers that they will be targeting Soviet Era aircraft. Moreover, expending the finite number of missiles on aircraft would detract from the missile system’s primary purpose – defense against ballistic missile attack.Not All Interventions In Syria Are Created Equal
Michael Koplow argues that Israeli air strikes against Syrian targets hold few lessons for a no-fly zone, Ottomans and Zionists blog, 6 May 2013.
The Art of SEAD: Lessons from Libya
By Maj Jeff Kassebaum, USAF, The Journal of Electronic Defense, December 2011.
While no NATO aircrew were lost in the Libya campaign, Maj Kassebaum argues that Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) could have been conducted better, and he highlights the regime’s use of civilian air traffic control equipment as part of their military’s Integrated Air Defense System (IADS).
Libya: The Forgotten Victims of NATO Strikes
Amnesty International, March 2012.
• International lawFrom the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office: humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 14 January 2014 (PDF).
Minister of State Hugh Robertson has recently reaffirmed that under certain circumstances the UK Government regards humanitarian intervention as legal even without a UN Security Council resolution. Those circumstances were defined in a Foreign and Commonwealth Office note circulated to NATO allies in October 1998 prior to the Kosovo intervention. The text of the note was as follows:
Security Council authorisation to use force for humanitarian purposes is now widely accepted (Bosnia and Somalia provided firm legal precedents). A UNSCR would give a clear legal base for NATO action, as well as being politically desirable.
But force can also be justified on the grounds of overwhelming humanitarian necessity without a UNSCR. The following criteria would need to be applied:
(a) that there is convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief;
(b) that it is objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved;
(c) that the proposed use of force is necessary and proportionate to the aim (the relief of humanitarian need) and is strictly limited in time and scope to this aim—ie it is the minimum necessary to achieve that end. It would also be necessary at the appropriate stages to assess the targets against this criterion.
Chemical weapon use by Syrian regime: UK government legal position
Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, 29 August 2013.
Note that aspects of this document go beyond the issue of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.
Syria: military intervention – six key points from Amnesty International
By Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International UK, 28 August 2013.
See also Amnesty International Q & A, 29 August 2013 (PDF):
Amnesty International neither condemns nor condones such an armed international intervention. It also takes no position on the legality or moral basis for any such action. In situations of armed conflict, Amnesty International focuses on ensuring that warring parties respect international humanitarian law and human rights.
• Opinion and advocacyWhy There Will Be a No-Fly Zone in Syria
James Miller, Dissected News, writing for the Huffington Post, 2 December 2011
It’s Time to Think Seriously About Intervening in Syria
Steven A. Cook, The Atlantic, 17 January 2012.
… at what point in the body count is international intervention deemed to be an acceptably worthwhile option that can have a positive effect on the situation? After Assad has killed 6,000 people? 7,000? 10,000? 20,000?Anti-Assad activist: “We need help… We need a no-fly zone… ASAP”
By Shamik Das, Left Foot Forward blog, 1 February 2012.
A Syrian no-fly zone is the moral and strategic thing to do
By Scott Cooper, The Washington Post, 6 April 2013.
Scott Cooper, a Marine aviator for 20 years, deployed five times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
I spent a year and a half enforcing “no-fly” zones over Iraq and the Balkans. My experiences convinced me that the United States should declare and enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. We would do well to remember the era of no-fly zones and what they did and didn’t do.
Time for a Syrian No-Fly Zone
By Garvan Walshe, Conservative Home blog, 30 April 2013.
Want to stop Iran's takeover of Syria? Ground the Syrian Air Force.
Michael Weiss, Now Lebanon, 8 May 2013.
Syria: The Need for Decisive U.S. Action
By Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 14 June 2013.
How to Oust Assad, and Why the United States Should Try
Michael Weiss, Foreign Affairs, 28 August 2013.
A No-Fly Zone for Syria
Charles Tannock MEP, 30 August 2013.
Syria: Stopping the Carnage
By Frederic C. Hof, Atlantic Council, 18 December 2013.
• News reportsSyrian no-fly zone has Joe-mentum
By Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 4 October 2011.
Dozens killed on Syrian ‘No-Fly Zone Friday’
By Abigail Fielding-Smith, Financial Times, 28 October 2011.
Syria protesters reportedly demand ‘no fly’ zone
By Alexandra Sandels and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, 28 October 2011.
Syria protesters call for no-fly zone
BBC News, 28 October 2011.
Syrian anger will echo down through the generations
Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 3 August 2012.
Reporting from Aleppo, an early account of air attacks deliberately targeting civilians.
Democratic foreign policy figures press for intervention in Syria
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times, 10 August 2012.
Top Democrat endorses Syria no-fly zone
By Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 19 March 2013.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) endorsed Tuesday the idea of establishing a no-fly zone inside Syria and attacking the air defenses and air power of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Ex-UN observer: ‘Level the playing field’ in Syria
Clip of Maj Gen Robert Mood, “time has come to consider a No-Fly Zone,” BBC News, 27 March 2013.
National Security Brief: Former Top U.N. Official Calls For No-Fly Zone In Syria
ThinkProgress, 28 March 2013.
The Thin Red Line: Inside the White House debate over Syria
By Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 13 May 2013.
Exclusive: Obama Asks Pentagon for Syria No-Fly Zone Plan
By Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 28 May 2013.
Breedlove: No-fly zone over Syria would constitute ‘act of war’
John Vandiver talks to U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO supreme allied commander Europe, Stars and Stripes, 31 May 2013.
Exclusive: Top Islamic Leader Calls for No-Fly Zone in Syria
Josh Rogin talks to Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The Daily Beast, 4 June 2013.
Iraq No-Fly Zone viewed as symbol for one in Syria
By Lara Jakes, AP, 16 June 2013.
NB This story highlights the failure of the Southern Watch No-Fly Zone to prevent repression by Saddam Hussein of the predominantly Shia population of southern Iraq. Most curiously it fails to mention that this no-fly zone was imposed a year after the Shia uprising was crushed. It also fails to mention the more timely, and more successful, no-fly zone imposed a year earlier over predominantly Kurdish northern Iraq.
Obama skeptical on major military action in Syria
By Dan De Luce, AFP, 17 June 2013. Also here.
Syria refugees “begging” John Kerry for no-fly zone
AP/CBS News, 18 July 2013.
US 'will not intervene in Syria as rebels don't support interests', says top general
By Associated Press, 21 August 2013:
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Barack Obama's chief military adviser, said that the US military was capable of taking out the Syrian government's airforce and tipping the deepening struggle back in the favour of the country's opposition.
Turkey: Planned US Missile Strikes on Syria Not Good Enough
By Hurriyet Daily News, Reuters, Time, NATOSource blog, 31 August 2013.
For Syrians, a no-fly zone of their own
By David Axe, Reuters, 11 October 2013.
Syria: Dozens of Government Attacks in Aleppo
Human Rights Watch, 21 December 2013.
Syrian regime’s barrel bomb assault on Aleppo kills hundreds
By Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, 24 December 2013.
Assad forces press devastating assault on Aleppo
By Abigail Hauslohner and Ahmed Ramadan, Washington Post, 24 December 2013.
Syrian forces kill 25 in Aleppo barrel-bomb attack: activists
by Erika Solomon; Editing by Erica Billingham, Reuters, 28 December 2013.
Barrel bombs ‘kill 517 in Aleppo since 15 December’
BBC News, 29 December 2013.
Airstrike in Damascus
Reuters slideshow of 15 photographs by Bassam Khabieh, 7 January 2014.
The Fragility Of Syria In One Heartbreaking Photo
Michael Kelley, Business Insider, 8 January 2014.
Syria crisis: Russia blocks UN statement on Aleppo attacks
BBC News, 9 January 2014.