Yesterday US and NATO officials discussed plans for a US military invasion of Syria to bring down Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, after US President Barack Obama announced that the US was contemplating a direct attack on Syria at a press conference Monday night.
A delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Beth Jones discussed US military plans with Turkey. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Defense Department and US intelligence officials met their Turkish counterparts “to share operational pictures, to talk about the effectiveness of what we’re doing now, and about what more we can do.”
Senior US officials said that contingency plans for US intervention in Syria include scenarios requiring tens of thousands of American troops.
At a press conference at the White House Monday, Obama declared: “I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down. So far, he hasn’t gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people. The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war he should move in the direction of a political transition. But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.”
Obama said that he would order “military engagement” if chemical or biological weapons are moved or used in Syria. He said that Syria’s alleged stockpile of chemical weapons “concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”
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