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Even before Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin could meet to discuss what to do about Syria, the Russian foreign ministry has made it clear that a no-fly zone is off the table. Speaking from Moscow, before the G-* summit could get underway, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said, "I think we fundamentally will not allow this scenario," echoing earlier comments from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that such a move would violate international law.

Putin himself is already pushing back on the idea of arming the rebels, saying after meeting David Cameron in London this weekend that "one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines, in front of the public and cameras." Putin is referring to one video that purports to show a Syrian rebel eating the organs of a dead Syrian soliders, but one that is also (we hope) a very isolated incident. 

The United Nations, of course, could impose a no-fly zone though a resolution, as it has int he past, wich countries like Iraq. Unfortunately  Russia hold a veto power over the Security Council, allowing them to block any formal attempt to implement one. Despite calls from some lawmakers, it seems unlikely that the United States would attempt one on its own, without the U.N.'s stamp of approval. 

Meanwhile, the threats against Western intervention are continuing from Syria and its allies. In addition to Putin's comments, a German newspaper quoted Bashar al-Assad warning Europe not to arm the rebels, saying, "If the Europeans deliver weapons, then Europe's backyard will become terrorist, and Europe will pay the price for it." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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