The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and called for "all necessary measures," excluding troops on the ground, to protect civilians and the areas they inhabit from armed attacks in the North African country.
The following are some key facts about no-fly zones.
A no-fly zone is a territory over which aircraft, especially military aircraft, are prohibited to fly without authorization.
One form of no-fly zones is authorized, under special conditions, by a sovereign state to prohibit aircraft from flying in specific parts of its airspace during a specified spell of time.
Another form of no-fly zone is set by one or a number of states or international organizations in certain airspace over territories where conflicts break out, to ban the flight of aircraft that belong to conflicting parties. This type of no-fly zone is legal only with the authorization by related international organizations.
On March 31, 1993, the UN Security Council passed a resolution, authorizing its member states or regional organizations to adopt all necessary means, military included, to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia.
In addition, the West also established successively two no-fly zones over Iraq following the Gulf War in 1991.