* Washington, Ankara to consider all measures to aid rebels
* Clinton says hears Syrian refugees' "terrible stories"
* Turkey fears Syria arming Kurdish militant group PKK
* Turkish PM Erdogan says militant attacks rising in Turkey
By Andrew Quinn and Ayla Jean Yackley
ISTANBUL, Aug 11 The United States and Turkey
are looking at all measures to help Syrian rebel forces fighting
to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, including a no-fly zone,
as the conflict there deepens, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said on Saturday.
Clinton told reporters after talks with Turkish Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that their countries needed to get into
detailed operational planning on how to assist the rebels and
bring a halt to the violence.
Overnight Syrian and Jordanian forces clashed along the
border in an incident that highlighted international concerns
that the civil war in Syria could ignite a wider regional
conflict. The clashes also emphasised the urgent need for
planning on what could follow Assad's fall.
"Our intelligence services, our military have very important
responsibilities and roles to play so we are going to be setting
up a working group to do exactly that," Clinton said.
Asked if such discussions included options such as imposing
a no-fly zone over territory that Syrian rebels claim to
control, Clinton indicated that was a possible option.
"The issues you posed within your question are exactly the
ones the minister and I agreed need greater in-depth analysis,"
Clinton answered, although she indicated no decisions were
The imposition of no-fly zones by foreign powers was crucial
in helping Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year.
But until recently, the United States and its European allies
have expressed reluctance to take on an overt military role in
Syria's 17-month-old conflict.
The rebels are believed to be getting arms from Saudi Arabia
and Qatar but only non-lethal assistance from the United States.
Davutoglu, responding to a similar question on next
measures, said it was time for outside powers to take decisive
steps to resolve the humanitarian crisis in cities such as
Aleppo, which is under daily Syrian government bombardment.
Clinton heard first-hand accounts of the violence in Syria
from six female refugees, among some 55,000 sheltering in Turkey
in camps along its long shared border. These included a
42-year-old woman who had fled Idlib after Assad's soldiers
forcibly evacuated her village and set it on fire.
"We heard their terrible stories," she said. "One woman fled
after the regime's forces burned down her village, another came
after they broke into her home, beat her and her children."
Clinton also met Syrian students, one of whom told her of
his hope the Syrian opposition will be able to present a unified
front both inside and outside Syria.
Washington sees Turkey, one of Damascus' harshest critics,
as the key player both in supporting Syria's opposition and in
planning for what U.S. officials say is the inevitable collapse
of the Assad government.
U.S. officials are particularly interested in Turkey's
analysis of the political forces emerging as Syria spirals into
chaos - hoping that together they can puzzle out the complex
patchwork of rebel groups jockeying for position.
Clinton and other U.S. officials have in recent weeks cited
rebel gains on the battlefield and the defection of senior
Syrian military and political figures, including Prime Minister
Riyad Hijab, as signs that Assad's rule is crumbling.
They have also highlighted rebel claims to control a
"corridor" from Aleppo to the Turkish border as a potential
future opposition safe haven, which could present the United
States and its allies with a policy predicament on whether to
defend it against government attack.
Clinton said Washington worried about other groups such as
the Kurdish separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda
exploiting the chaos in Syria to gain a foothold.
Turkey this week accused Assad of supplying arms to the PKK,
and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has raised the possibility of
military intervention in Syria if the Kurdish threat increases.
"There is a close link between what is going on in Syria and
the latest events in Turkey," Erdogan told his Justice and
Development party at a dinner on Saturday, adding that militant
attacks were on the rise in Turkey and militants were trying to
establish a stronghold in some areas.
Suspected Kurdish militants ambushed a Turkish military bus
in western Turkey on Thursday in an attack that killed one
soldier and wounded at least 11 people.
Turkish authorities in the southeast province of Hakkari
announced on Saturday that armed forces had completed an almost
three-week operation against PKK positions around the region of
Semdinli, the scene of fierce fighting.
Erdogan said the PKK had suffered heavy losses and left the