President Barack Obama is reported to have asked his military to draw up plans to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, while continuing to push for a political end to the conflict.
The White House asked the Pentagon for these plans last week, said a Newsweek-Daily Beast report on Tuesday.But no decisions yet.
"The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been," said one of those officials.
An estimated 250,000 Syrians have been killed, wounded, or are missing in the two-year conflict. Almost half of all Syrians could need assistance by the end of 2013, according to the UN.
Western leaders have been pushing for a greater military engagement in support of the rebels. The EU let its embargo on sale of arms to Syrian rebels lapse on Monday.
India has opposed outside interference, seeking a Syrian-led inclusive political resolution of the conflict, condemning the use of violence by both sides. Obama has been under pressure to do more, but he has refused to go beyond calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, and extending non-lethal aid to the rebels.
Is it finally coming?
“There is no new military planning effort underway with regard to Syria,” said department of defense spokesman George Little in response to the Daily Best report.
“The Joint Staff, along with the relevant combatant commanders, continue to conduct prudent planning for a range of possible military options,” he added.