(MENAFN - Arab News) NATO does not believe that military intervention in Syria would bring any improvement in the security situation there, a senior alliance official said yesterday.
Germany's Manfred Lange, Chief of Staff of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), said the military was telling leaders that there was no good case for military action and the political process had to be pursued.
"The military advice is (that) there are not sufficient visible signs at the moment that a military intervention could lead to an improvement of the security situation," Lange said.
"The political process has to be pushed forward, sanctions need to take effect. At the moment, this situation cannot be solved by the military in a responsible way," he told a briefing.
In other developments, a masked gunman on a motorbike gunned down prominent Kurdish activist Mahmoud Wali yesterday in northeastern Syria, fellow activists said.
Iraq denied permission to a North Korean plane bound for Syria to pass through Iraqi airspace today because it suspects it could be carrying weapons, a senior official said yesterday.
"Continuing the Iraqi government policy to investigate the passing of weapons to Syria through Iraqi land and air space, the Iraqi authorities prevented a North Korean plane from going to Syria, after they suspected that the plane was shipping weapons," Ali Al-Mossawi, media adviser to the Iraq's prime minister, said.
Moussawi said the scheduled plane's itinerary, from North Korea to Syria, was what had aroused suspicions but that there had been no contact between the Iraqi government and North Korea on the issue.
Turkey's state-run news agency says five people, including two Syrians, are on trial on charges of military espionage and of attempting to kidnap a Syrian Army defector.
The Anadolu Agency said yesterday Turkish prosecutors are demanding a maximum 54 years in prison for each of the defendants accused of passing information to Syria on officers who have fled to Turkey, and of trying to abduct a Syrian army lieutenant at knife point. The suspects have not been identified.
Five other Turks, including a former intelligence official, are awaiting trial in a separate case for allegedly abducting former Syrian Lt.-Col. Hussein Harmoush and handing him over to Syrian authorities.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has canceled a trip to the US where he was due to attend a UN General Assembly meeting next week, an official from his office said, citing a forthcoming party congress and heavy work schedule.
The rebellion against Assad is likely to be focus of plenary and bilateral meetings in New York. Erdogan has been one of Assad's harshest critics, allowing the Syrian opposition to organize on Turkish soil, and pushing for a foreign-protected safe zone inside Syria.
Syrian security forces seized three members of Syria's government-sanctioned opposition shortly after they returned from an official trip to China, a spokesman for the group said yesterday.
Five other members of the National Coordination Body (NCB) were reportedly detained by Syrian security agents on Monday.
Assad has tolerated some opposition figures who call for a peaceful transition from a one-party state to democratic governance.
NCB spokesman Khalaf Dahowd said NCB foreign affairs head Abdel Aziz Al-Khair and executive committee member Eyas Ayyash arrived in Damascus on Thursday night and were followed by Syrian security agents to their car where they joined NCB member Maher Tahan.