Micah Zenko, writing for The Atlantic, explores the recent calls of protesters in the streets of Syri, for a "No-Fly Zone" and an international intervention, perhaps similar to the UN resolution and the NATO mission in Libya. Zenko, considering whether or not a no-fly zone would help the protesters, doubts that such a mission is in the international playbook. The most interesting assessment --- with which we agree --- is that there is little to no evidence that the Syrian military is using air power to attack protesters.
However, the one point that Zenko does not make is that the perception of the NATO intervention in Libya has stretched the meaning of the phrase "no-fly zone" for many in the Middle East. In Libya, only the first few days or weeks of the NATO mission concentrated on Qaddadi's air power. The rest of the mission focused on hammering Qaddafi's tanks, artillery, and rocket batteries. While Syria's military may not be relying heavily on its air force, Assad's loyalists have been patrolling, and shelling, the streets of Syria with heavily armored equipment. Perhaps, to the Syrian protesters on the ground who don't speak English as their first language, a "no-fly zone" actually mean a "blow up Assad's tanks" zone?