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Syrian activists call for Libya-style uprising

The success of Libya's rebels in toppling their dictator is prompting calls within the Syrian opposition for armed rebellion and NATO intervention after nearly six months of overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that have failed to dislodge President Bashar al-Assad.

The young Internet activists who have helped guide the uprising are arguing against the strategic shift. So too are the older dissidents who have long dreamed of the nonviolent revolution now unfolding against a regime that has proved every bit as brutal as the one led by Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

But some activists have concluded that peaceful protests alone will not be enough to overthrow a government that has used live ammunition, tanks and artillery to try to crush its opponents, killing more than 2,000 and imprisoning tens of thousands.

Protesters in recent days have carried banners calling for a no-fly zone over Syria akin to the one that facilitated the Libyan revolt. "We want any [intervention] that stops the killing, whether Arab or foreign," said one banner held by protesters in the beleaguered town of Homs.

Yet although President Obama called this month for Assad to step down, world powers, including the United States, have shown little appetite for any form of entanglement in Syria.

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