The chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has ruled out the possibility of a military action against Syria. "There is no military solution to the conflict in Syria," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday, stressing the need for a political solution to the unrest in the Arab country. Rasmussen also expressed his support for holding an international conference proposed by the United States and Russia for ending the conflict in the Middle Eastern country.
"I urge the government and opposition in Syria to participate in this conference that hopefully will pave the way for a sustainable solution," he said.In May, Russia and the US agreed to convene the planned Geneva II conference, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012. On Monday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow and Washington have agreed to push for holding the international gathering on the Syrian crisis in mid-November. On Sunday, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad expressed his country’s readiness to partake in the conference but stressed that he would not negotiate with terrorists. Assad, however, said that the only condition for sitting at the negotiating table is that the militants lay down their arms and stop fighting against the government. Syria’s foreign-backed opposition coalition remains divided over participation in the second round of Geneva talks. They have repeatedly expressed reluctance to take part in the conference unless Assad steps down. Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence. Reports indicate that the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country. IA/HN/MHB