Western efforts on Syria shifting

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Associated Press

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 7 at 10:34 AM

ZAATARI, Jordan (AP) — Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad have shifted dramatically today, with Britain announcing it will deal directly with rebel military leaders.

It's an effort to end the deadlocked civil war that has killed more than 36,000 people since March 2011.

American officials are also considering meeting with rebel military commanders, but no final decision has been made.

A Turkish official also said today that his nation has held discussions with NATO allies, including the United States, on using Patriot missiles to protect a safe zone inside Syria.

U.S. officials say Patriots or other assets could be deployed to Turkey's side of the border for defensive purposes against possible incursions, mortar strikes and the like. But the officials say Washington isn't prepared to send any such equipment inside Syria, which would amount to a violation of sovereignty and a significant military escalation.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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