Washington prepares a Kosovo-model internvention to Syria

Ahram Online , Saturday 25 Feb 2012

A US military official unveils that Washington is currently planning a Kosovo-like intervention in Syria that resembles the 1998 NATO mission in Kosovo; yet, confrontation with Syrian forces will be avoided

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks with other leaders as she attends the Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis, February 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

A US military official told Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper that the Pentagon is recently engineering a scheme for military intervention in Syria that resembles the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) 1998 mission in Kosovo.

"The NATO forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross will back the interventionist scenario through providing a 'safe shelter' for the Syrian refugees close to the Turkish borders and humanitarian assistance to all Syrians", the source added.

The source expected that China and Russia would not change their support to Bashar Al-Assad's regime, but accentuated the importance of their acceptance and contribution concerning the humanitarian aid.

Earlier this month, Russia and China joined in a double veto of a Western- and Arab-driven resolution at the UN Security Council endorsing the Arab League plan for Al-Assad to hand power to a deputy to make way for a transition towards democracy.

The two countries complained that the draft resolution was an improper and biased attempt at "regime change" in Syria, which is Moscow's sole major Middle East ally, an important buyer of Russian arms exports and host to a Russian naval base.

The source said that Washington will be "extremely cautious" in avoiding a military confrontation with the Syrian air troops, for the plan aim at imposing a no-fly zone on Syria as it was the case with Kosovo. 

On 13 October 1998, following a deterioration of the situation, the NATO Council approved Activation Orders for air strikes.

This move was designed to support diplomatic efforts to enforce Yugoslavia's Milosevic regime to withdraw forces from Kosovo, bring an end to the violence and facilitate the return of refugees to their homes.

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