US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when” (DEBKAfile) Special Report 06/16/12 3:51 PM (GMT+02:00)
As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope
and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June
16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country:
“The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’
A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk
about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration.
In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the
State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed
in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of
challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of
attack to destabilize his regime.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is
very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the
Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send
have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for
The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its
military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya
lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed
on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which
toppled the Qaddafi regime.
Following reports of approaching US military intervention in Syria
and a Russian marine contingent heading for Tartus port, the UN
observer mission in Syria has suspended operations and patrols. Its
commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said, “Violence has been intensifying
over the past 10 days by both parties with losses and significant
risks to our observers.”
He said the risk is approaching an unacceptable level and could
prompt the 300 observers to pull out of the country.
Friday, June 15, DEBKAfile reported:
A contingent of Russian special forces is on its way to Syria to
guard the Russian navy’s deep-water port at the Syria’s Mediterranean
coastal town of Tartus, Pentagon officials informed US NBC TV Friday,
June 15. They are coming by ship. According to DEBKAfile’s sources,
the contingent is made up of naval marines and is due to land in
Syria in the coming hours.
In a separate and earlier announcement, US Defense Department sources
in Washington reported that the US military had completed its own
planning for a variety of US operations against Syria, or for
assisting neighboring countries in the event action was ordered – a
reference, according to our sources, to Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
The Syrian civil war is now moving into a new phase of major power
military intervention, say DEBKAfile’s military sources. Moscow, by
sending troops to Syria without UN Security Council approval, has set
a precedent for the United States, the European Union and Arab
governments to follow. They all held back from sending troops to
Syria because all motions to apply force for halting the bloodshed in
Syria were blocked in the UN body by Russia and China.
According to US military sources, in recent weeks, the Pentagon has
finalized its assessment of what types of units would be needed and
how many troops. The military planning includes a scenario for a no-
fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites. The
U.S. Navy is maintaining a presence of three surface combatants and a
submarine in the eastern Mediterranean to conduct electronic
surveillance and reconnaissance on the Syrian regime, a senior
Pentagon official said. (Copyright 2000-2012 DEBKAfile. 06/16/12)
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