What are the West’s military options in Syria?

Global Post: Following reports of a large-scale chemical weapons strike, pressure is mounting on the United States and its Western allies to act to halt the violence in Syria.

But, with politicians and public alike loathe to get sucked into another drawn out land war in the Middle East, what military options remain on the table?

Buffer zones

Some experts suggest buffer zones could be created along Syria’s Turkish and perhaps Jordanian borders to serve as a safe area for refugees and as a rebel rear base.

This would limit the area that international troops would need to control but, as America’s top general Martin Dempsey warned in a letter to US lawmakers, it would be no easy task.

“Lethal force would be required to defend the zones against air, missile, and ground attacks,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“This would necessitate the establishment of a limited no-fly zone, with its associated resource requirements. Thousands of US ground forces would be needed, even if positioned outside Syria, to support those physically defending the zones.”

Meanwhile, security expert Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned that the tactic might not be enough to ensure President Bashar al-Assad’s defeat.

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Categories: Europe

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