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A no-fly zone over Syria? Harder to do than in Libya, warns top US general (+video)

Some US lawmakers want the US to establish a no-fly zone over Syria. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, questioned Tuesday whether that would do much to reduce Syrian attacks on civilians, never mind that it won't be easy.

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How tricky would it be for the US military to establish a no-fly zone over Syria – and do Pentagon officials think it’s a good idea?

Sen. John McCain ( R) of Arizona and other US lawmakers, arguing that imposing a no-fly zone would deal a blow to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are demanding that the White House do just that.

But the nation’s top military officer warns that establishing a no-fly zone in Syria would be much more difficult than it was to create one over, say, Libya.

What’s more, senior US military officials say they are not convinced that knocking out Syrian air power would make much difference in alleviating most of the violence that civilians there are enduring at the hands of the regime.

“About 10 percent of the casualties that are being imposed on the Syrian opposition are occurring through the use of air power,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Monitor-hosted luncheon with reporters on Tuesday. “The other 90 percent are by direct fire or by artillery,” he added, noting that those figures could vary by two to three percentage points in either direction.

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