Well then. Western special operators may well be on the ground in Syria covertly conducting reconnaissance missions and training rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al Assad, much like Western SOF troops did in Libya last year, according to the STRATFOR documents that were recently published by Wikileaks.
Apparently, a STRATFOR analyst sat down with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Strategic Studies Group — a team of four Air Force lieutenant colonels along with one French and one British officer — at the Pentagon and then wrote up a quick report claiming the SSG boys implied that Western operators are on the ground in Syria.
After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces… They have been told to prepare contingencies and be ready to act within 2-3 months, but they still stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.”
This sounds an awful lot like the earliest reports we had of Western troops secretly operating inside Libya before NATO air forces began pummeling Gadhafi’s Army one year ago this month. We already know that the U.S. is moving to get the Syrian rebels humanitarian aid and possibly comms gear now that the U.S. is “aligned with enabling the opposition to overthrow the Assad regime.” These western troops on the ground could also open a door for arms shipments to the rebels, if things come to that.
The report goes on to say that any air campaign against the Syrian government would likely use the Brits’ bases on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus as one of its launching pads.
From Business Insider:
They then discuss the option of an air campaign in Syria and what its objectives would be, saying the situation makes “Libya look like a piece of cake” because of the geography and Syria’s robust air defenses.
“The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and French wouldfly out of there. They kept stressing how much is stored at Cyprus and howmuch recce comes out of there… There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what a military intervention involving an air campaign would be designed to achieve.”
Let’s hope the UK has enough smart bombs stored on Cyprus that it won’t run out of precision weapons if it attacks Syria, you know, the way some NATO members did during the air war against Gadhafi. That was embarrassing.