Mike Gapes has called on Nato and Turkey to consider imposing a no fly zone to stop the slaughter in Syria but Foreign Secretary William Hague has ruled it out. Here is their exchange in Parliament on Tuesday.

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): I welcome and endorse the Foreign Secretary’s remarks about taking action through the European Union, through the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council and with the Friends of Syria group, but one organisation that he did not mention was NATO. Is it not time to have a discussion in the North Atlantic Council -  including Turkey - about having some kind of no-fly zone, comparable with what was put in place to save the Kurds 11 years ago, over the northern part of Syria?

Mr Hague: I do not think that it is. I say so, first, because if NATO began planning for different eventualities in Syria, that would weaken rather than unite the international coalition. A no-fly zone would also require authorisation from the UN Security Council, and clearly that would not be obtained at the moment. In addition, although there are reports of Syrian aircraft being involved in the latest events, this is not the prime means of repression, so although a no-fly zone is an easy thing to call for, there is a danger that it would give the illusion of security when the prime means of repression of the civilian population is by tanks and troops on the ground.

6 Feb 2012

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