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Syrian fighter jet crashes: debate over shoot down or technical failure

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Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have pledged to help supply the Syrian rebels, but the extent of the aid is unclear. Rebel commanders have consistently complained about lack of ammunition, including during recent battles in Aleppo. Last week, anti-regime protesters across Syria staged rallies calling for greater anti-aircraft firepower.

On Sunday, the head of Syria's main opposition group in exile called for international powers to impose a no-fly zone in border areas to protect civilians who are coming under increasingly intense attacks by regime warplanes and helicopters.

The president of the Syrian National Council, Abdelbaset Sieda, told The Associated Press that such a move by the international community would show President Bashar Assad's regime that his opponents around the world are serious.

The Syrian opposition has been calling for a no-fly zone over Syria for months. But Sieda renewed the plea a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington and Turkey were discussing a range of steps including a no-fly zone over some parts of Syria as the regime increasingly uses its air force to attack rebels.

The eastern, oil-rich region of Deir el-Zour near the border with Iraq has been witnessing heavy clashes between government troops and rebels over the past week. Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected to Jordan earlier this month, comes from Deir el-Zour.

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