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US Pentagon preparing for Syrian intervention- Source | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat- with the crisis in Syria escalating on a daily basis, a US military source has stated to told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US Department of Defense, is preparing a scenario to intervene in Syria, based on NATO’s 1998 plan of intervention in Kosovo after the UN Security Council failed at the time to pass a resolution to halt the Yugoslav Government’s acts of killing there because Russia objected to the draft resolution and China abstained from voting.

The source said the scenario begins with the establishment of a secure zone to provide shelter for Syrian refugees near the border with Turkey and provision of humanitarian aid to all Syrians, first, through the International Red Cross and, then, through NATO forces that will move in from Turkey.

The source added that the Pentagon does not expect Russia and China to shift from their support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but the scenario depends on the two states’ approval to provide humanitarian aid “to the entire Syrian people”, achieve ceasefire “between all parties”, in a reference to the armed Syrian opposition, dispatch a special envoy from the United Nations to “study the situation in Syria and submit a report to the Security Council”, and send international observers.

According to the scenario, provision of humanitarian aid might serve as a legal international means to provide military protection for humanitarian aid teams. This action might develop into an air protection to aid convoys that are expected to move in from Turkey and Jordan.

The source noted that the scenario is “very cautious” because it takes into consideration the immense power of the Syrian armed forces, especially the Syrian Air Force. Therefore, he said, the scenario focuses on not sending land troops to Syria in accordance with the first phase of the Kosovo war in which NATO planes were involved and during which no American soldier was killed. The source added that the scenario paves the way for the declaration of an air exclusion zone modeled on the Kosovo plan and on the air exclusion zone that was imposed in Iraq before the overthrow of the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The scenario avoids air confrontations with, and even targeting, the Syrian Air Force. The source noted that NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was based on a military order from the NATO command to target Yugoslav military bases to force the Yugoslav government to halt the acts of repression. But, the source said, the Pentagon scenario in Syria does not provide for this action, at least for the time being, and it also does not include the action that followed the NATO bombing, that is to say, dispatch of NATO ground forces that are still operating in Kosovo.

The source said NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was not approved by the UN Security Council but the Security Council’s first resolution in 1998 was a fundamental first step to win over Russia that allied itself with the then Yugoslav government.