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Britain is considering basing Typhoon jets at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, according to Sky News sources.
Two VC10 tanker aircraft are already in Cyprus, and have been offering support during the extraction of civilians from Libya.
In the plans currently being discussed at the Ministry of Defence, the VC10s would remain there to assist the fast jets.
David Cameron told MPs on Monday that he had asked the Chief of the Defence Staff, the head of Britain's armed forces, to work with allies to see if a military no-fly zone was possible.
It is thought the Prime Minister is keen to enforce an exclusion zone to prevent Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from again attacking civilians who oppose his regime.
France and the USA are also reportedly in favour of the action.
But Russia's top diplomat has poured cold water on the idea, saying world powers should focus instead on implementing sanctions.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that world powers needed to "avoid the superfluous", when asked about the idea of creating an exclusion zone.
Defence sources said that a no-fly zone was one of a number of alternatives.
One said: "It's definitely an option. We're doing the planning work.
"We have contingency reserves to cover the Falkland Islands and UK air defence, as well as something like a Libyan air exclusion zone."
The latest suggestion comes as pro-Gaddafi forces attempted to retake the rebel-held city of Zawiyah overnight, using anti-aircraft guns and tanks.
The offensive failed and the western city, just 30 miles from Tripoli, currently remains under the control of protesters who have the support of defected army forces.
"We will not give up Zawiyah at any price," said one witness.
"We know it is significant strategically. They will fight to get it, but we will not give up.
"We managed to defeat them because our spirits are high and their spirits are zero."
Meanwhile, British destroyer HMS York is on its way to Benghazi to deliver medical supplies, but it will also evacuate any Britons in the port city.