‘External intervention’ in Syria is becoming more likely, says a leading UK-based military think tank.
Planning for possible intervention is already under way in Western capitals, Turkey and Jordan, the report says.
The report comes from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) which has close ties to the UK defence ministry.
The RUSI report quotes Col Richard Kemp, who led UK forces in Afghanistan, as saying ‘Military planners have a responsibility to prepare for intervention options in Syria for their political masters in case this conflict chooses them.’ Kemp calls the report, ‘A Collision Course for Intervention’.
He says that ‘Preparation will be proceeding today in several Western capitals and on the ground in Syria and in Turkey.
‘They will however have grave reservations over the consequences and the cost of intervention as well as the geopolitical implications.’
The report estimated that up to 300,000 troops will be needed.
Kemp asserts in the report that foreign intervention is already under way in Syria.
‘External intervention has been under way in Syria for months, with Russia arming the regime,’ he says.
‘At the same time Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with US and Turkish facilitation, have been arming and funding the opposition; and this covert support has been substantially responsible for the progress opposition forces have made in recent weeks.
‘Western political leaders may have no appetite for deeper intervention. But as history has shown, we do not always choose which wars to fight.’
Meanwhile, Russia has censured the United States for backing armed groups in Syria, saying Washington’s failure to condemn the recent deadly bomb attack in Damascus signifies that the US ‘justifies terrorism’ against Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters yesterday: ‘This is directly justifying terrorism. How can this be understood?’
Meanwhile, an Israeli military official has warned against any attack by the Tel Aviv regime against ‘Syria’s chemical weapons’.
Israeli Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz told the Israeli parliament on Tuesday that the Israeli regime could face a large-scale conflict in case of such an attack.
‘We need to take into consideration what will remain after we act and whose hands it will fall into,’ he said.
Gantz also stated that the Syrian army is guarding such weapons and that it has ‘even increased security’.
The comments come a few days after Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak threatened that Israel might attack Syria if the Arab country ‘transferred weapons of mass destruction to Lebanon.’
‘I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that… (if necessary)… we will be able to consider carrying out an operation,’ he said.