- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Correction: The website mentioned in the below post is owned by James L’Angelle, a supporter of the Syrian National Council but not an official spokesman for the organization. As such, the images posted on the site — which L’Angelle said that he took from another blog — cannot provide insights into the workings of the SNC. The official website of the SNC is www.syriannc.org. We regret the error.
The Syrian National Council (SNC), which was formed on Sunday as an umbrella coalition of groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, hinted strongly that it was in favor of a no-fly zone over the country by publishing maps of Syrian air defenses on its website.
The SNC’s web page on the implementation of a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians, similar to the one that exists over Libya, does not explicitly endorse such an option. It argues that while "the situation itself might warrant an air defense blanket," practical considerations make the creation of a no-fly zone more difficult.
But the pictures on the website tell a different story. Four detailed maps (1,2,3,4) show the placement of Syrian air defenses — specifically the Soviet-designed S-25, S-75, S-125, and S-200 surface-to-air missiles, and the 2K12 "Kub" air defense system — that an international force would presumably need to destroy to implement a no-fly zone. Another chart compares Syria’s total number of anti-aircraft weapons, which it lists at 3,310, those of other nations.
SNC Chairman Burhan Ghalioun affirmed yesterday that the council "rejects any outside interference that undermines the sovereignty of the Syrian people." SNC members, however, have interpreted that statement to rule out the presence of foreign boots on the ground in Syria — but not necessarily a no-fly zone.