Washington Post report on Monday.
“One thing we want to avoid is having one group securing the sites and another group bombing them,” added the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Following reports of a chemical attack near the Syrian major city of Aleppo by foreign-sponsored terrorist gangs trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, US President Barack Obama said he had directed his “teams” to “find out precisely whether or not this red line was crossed,” the report adds, suggesting an American effort to blame the attack on the Syrian government.
The Obama administration “has sent thousands of protective suits and more than 150 military personnel to help train special forces teams” near Syria’s border with Jordan, where it claims “the largest” chemical arms depots are located, the report adds, citing US and Middle Eastern officials.
Pointing to efforts by the American military to work with “regional allies” to prepare responses “if events require seizing [Syrian] weapons sites, the report does not, however, mention any specific allies and whether the Israeli regime would also be involved in the potential scheme.
More aggressive US military options, according to the report, involve “a plan to destroy Assad’s air force to prevent it from using aerial munitions.”
It further cites American officials as looking into the possibility “to destroy much of Assad’s chemical arsenal,” but fearing that “dispersing chemicals” could cause widespread casualties, they would have to send in “highly trained operatives” to place and detonate explosives at the sites, rather than bombarding them.
The development comes as the US-sponsored anti-Damascus coalition group was reported on a verge of collapse following the resignation of its top leader, Moaz al-Khatib, after a Syrian-born US citizen was appointed a prime minister of a so-called interim government.
The US military has prepared plans ranging from aerial bombings to deploying troops to “seize [chemical] weapons sites” inside Syria but has reservations against such moves, fearing a political backlash to the US intervention as well as lack of coordination with its regional allies.
“If we had to go in tomorrow, I’d say we aren’t ready,” said an unnamed Obama administration official “involved in the preparations for securing Syria’s chemical weapons” quoted in a