Sida added that the US realizes that a no-fly zone is "essential" to the rebels' success. His comments come on the heels of a meeting over the weekend between US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul to determine a course of action to help the rebels in their efforts against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Although Ms. Clinton did not indicate any immediate measures to aid the rebels, she did acknowledge that a no-fly zone was among the options under consideration.
As the international community debates how to respond to the crisis, the fighting in Syria continues unabated. Agence France-Presse reports that Assad regime forces shelled several rebel strongholds in Damascus on Monday, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory says that more than 45 people, including 36 civilians, have been killed in the Damascus province in the past 48 hours, and 150 people all told were killed across the country on Sunday.