1 of 4 | A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian president Bashar al-Assad accompanied by his wife Asma (L), posing for a photograph while casting his vote, during the referendum on a new constitution, at a polling station, in Damascus, Syria, on February 26, 2012. Syrians began voting on February 26 on a new constitution that the government says will introduce political pluralism. More than 14,000 polling stations opened nationwide for about 15 million eligible voters. The opposition announced a boycott of the referendum. UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- NATO forces won't intervene in Syria because the international community has yet to reach a consensus on how to handle the crisis, the secretary-general said.
The United Nations, in an emergency meeting this week, said high-ranking officials in Damascus were likely responsible for crimes against humanity. An estimated 7,500 people have died in clashes pitting regime forces against anti-governments groups in the country.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a news conference in Washington that the Western alliance "has no intention whatsoever" to get involved in Syria.
"In Libya we had a very clear United Nations mandate and we had active support from a number of countries in the region," he said. "None of these conditions are fulfilled in Syria."
Rasmussen said a regional solution to the crisis in Syria may be the best available solution.
"I commend the Arab League for their efforts to find a solution," he said. "So far it's not been successful but I do believe countries in the region should engage actively in finding a solution."
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Friday he accepted a request from the United Nations and Arab League to serve as a joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis.