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Russia's Lavrov calls 'unacceptable' no-fly zone over Syria

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Aug. 18, 2012, 7:11 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Reuters, Interfax

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
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The formation of a no-fly zone over Syria would be a violation of the UN Charter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes.

"I have heard the comments of U.S. military representatives. It is not the first time when the concept of security zones and no-fly zones is mentioned. If these zones are going to cover the territory of the Syrian state, this will constitute a violation of its sovereignty and of the U.N. Charter," he said in an interview with Sky News Arabia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Aug. 11 that Washington and Turkey were looking at all measures to help Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, including a no-fly zone.

Lavrov said there exist special mechanisms and instruments for easing the position of refugees and displaced persons. "UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos has been in Damascus and other parts of Syria these days. There is the consent of the Syrian government to resolve these issues," he said.

He added that there is the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that is ready to help those who are staying at camps in Turkey, Jordan and other countries.

"The problems of the security of civilians should be tackled through these methods tested by international humanitarian law. If attempts are made to create no-fly zones and security zones for military purposes on the pretext of the humanitarian crisis, this is unacceptable," Lavrov said. 

No-fly zones imposed by NATO and Arab allies helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year.

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