Sources close to the French Defense Ministry reported Friday, Dec. 7, that a Western-Arab military intervention against the Assad regime is due to begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations.
The reference is to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar’s special forces.
Military sources add that the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle carrying a complement of marines is deployed in the Mediterranean, having joined the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and at least five British warships which are also carrying a large marine force.
Report: French military advisers meet with rebels inside Syria
The French agents had held face-to-face talks with a Free Syrian Army leader “in the area between Damascus and Lebanon,” the paper quoted an unnamed leader of the Syrian opposition as saying.
The source was also quoted as saying that U.S. and British agents had also held meetings on Syrian soil with rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s regime.
“The French experts want to know who is doing what,” the opposition leader told the newspaper.
They also wanted to determine the “operational capacity of each group” and their “political colors.”
US, French Troops Prepare For Syria Invasion In Response To “Chemical Weapons” Threat
10,000 U.S. Troops – Plus French, British and NATO Soldiers – Get Ready for War Against Assad
BRUSSELS – Russia accused NATO on Friday of moving towards involvement in the Syrian conflict, three days after the alliance decided to station Patriot missiles to protect Turkey from spillover from the violence.
The charge came from Russia’s new ambassador to NATO, and came in spite of NATO assurances that the Patriots, which will be placed near Turkey’s border with Syria, are intended purely for defensive purposes.
“This is not a threat to us, but this is an indication that NATO is moving towards engagement and that’s it,” Alexander Grushko told reporters.
EXCLUSIVE: US Trains Rebel Brigades to Secure Chemical Weapons
The US and its allies have hired contractors to train some Syrian rebel brigades in chemical weapons security, Syria Deeply has exclusively learned from four diplomats, including one US official. The sources asked to remain anonymous, as they deal directly with developments in Syria. The training would mark a higher level of coordination between the US and armed opposition forces, working to secure Syria’s chemical arsenal during a period of political turmoil.
The diplomatic sources say defense contractors hired by the US and its European allies have recently conducted training exercises with Syrian rebel forces in Turkey and Jordan. The programs were intended to prepare brigades to handle chemical weapons sites and materials they might encounter, as Assad troops lose control of over parts of the country. US contractors have also been on the ground in Syria to monitor the status of regime stockpiles, said an employee with a major US defense consultancy that has been engaged in that work.
“They’re probably trying to provide near real-time surveillance at all these sites. There’s no point in limiting yourself,” said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He emphasized that any training of rebel fighters would represent just one element of contingency planning underway and said it would be incorrect to assume that training rebels is “the only hope”.
Russia Docks Warships in Syria as NATO Arms Turkey
Russian warships docked at a naval base in Syria, according to reports on Wednesday, further separating Moscow from Western actions in the war-torn country.
The two ships made a rare call at the port in Tartus, Russia’s only remaining international military base since the Soviet Union collapsed, according to AFP and Interfax reports. Russian authorities claim the stop was only to load fuel and water and make “minor repairs.” This is the second time the Russian Navy has raised eyebrows in recent weeks, following reports that it docked warships off the coast of Gaza in late November, during the height of the fighting there with Israel.