INTERNATIONAL > US cool on military options against Syria

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Washington will not roll up its sleeves and get involved in a military action against the al-Assad regime, a US general reportedly tells a Turkish audience

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Adm Winnefeld has listened to the opinions of Turkish academics on the issue of the Syrian crisis. Hürriyet photo

Adm Winnefeld has listened to the opinions of Turkish academics on the issue of the Syrian crisis. Hürriyet photo

Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

The United States is eager hear from Turkish figures about the Syrian conflict, yet the same willingness does not apply to Washington’s prospects for a military option in Syria, a top U.S. general has implicitly indicated to Turkish academics.

Although there is a widely held assumption by Turkish decision makers and opinion leaders that the U.S. administration will show its cards on Syria following the upcoming presidential election and will follow a harder line including military intervention, U.S. officials, including the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, imply that Washington will continue not to get involved in the creation of a safe haven in Syria.

Winnefeld held a roundtable meeting with Turkish academics on Oct. 23 as part of his talks in Ankara. The U.S. commander listened to the opinions of Turkish academics on the issue of the Syrian crisis and its implications for Turkey.

The participants, who asked to remain anonymous as it was a rule set for the meeting, told the Hürriyet Daily News that Washington was aiming to set up a roadmap on its Syrian policies for the post-election era.

Difficulties for safe haven inside Syria

When participants raised the issue of establishing a safe haven in Syria, the admiral indicated the unwillingness of Washington as he listed difficulties preventing such a move, saying it would require military intervention, which could also lead to clashes with Syrian security forces.

The outcomes of a safe haven could also trigger serious problems for Turkey, according to Winnefeld. The U.S. official drew attention to previous remarks by Syrian officials that chemical weapons would only be used if anyone attempted military intervention.

He signaled that NATO could intervene in Syria if the regime used chemical weapons. Washington had previously stated that use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a “red line” in its policy on Syria.

Meanwhile, the U.S. believes a U.N. Security Council decision is necessary for a safe haven in Syria, which is unlikely at the moment, according to the U.S. admiral. NATO would stand by its ally in case of an attack by Syria against Turkey, the admiral also said.

Turkish and U.S. cooperation in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was also a topic at the meeting, where the participants raised concerns that Washington was reluctant to transfer arms to Turkey. The admiral said the U.S. administration supported arms transfers to its ally, but cited problems in American bureaucracy.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

10/27/2012 12:59:00 AM

US Observer Thanks! WE are still the home of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

US Observer

10/25/2012 10:12:21 PM

@Sid, I'm not sure of the point of asking the question but recently we destroyed Iraq's Army twice within the past 20 years..on our own. Contrary to popular opinion we did lose Vietnam either in terms of fighting, it was politicians that paralyzed us there. If you are insinuating that Americas military is anything short of the greatest force mankind has ever seen, you are sorely mistaken.

Aryeh Rapaport

10/25/2012 9:25:55 PM

Sid, None! Thats why claims that US is colonial power is ridiculous! Every country America has troops in is under signed agreement with local govt. America does NOT have land which it forcefully controls- everything is leased, bought. US works with partners. Not only to control random land but to work with local peoples to bring justice, freedom, self determination, hope. America should never fight a war alone- but with partners, friends, fellow freedom fighters, liberty lovers

Turk Uzan

10/25/2012 9:17:56 PM

I believe both sides (Turkey and US) would like to avoid conflict .. the reason they haven't gone in to Syria yet is because the simple fact that if the rebels do it by them selves it's "so" much more beneficial. 1. No major damage to public opinion because of war (damage to voters esp) 2. No high military costs (financially) 3. No high military losses the list goes on for ever, fact is. That it would be FAR better and cheaper if we could assure the rebels winning without having to go to war

Turk Uzan

10/25/2012 9:13:24 PM

@ Dorus, this is not true, since Russia barely uses the port... in fact the port hasn't been active in a very long time .. Russia doesn't care for the port but for the weapon sales and the fact that Russia doesn't like the idea that there is a chance NATO will gain significant influence in the area which would mean NATO would be at Russia's door step. @ Niko's that's a ridiculous statement without a single shred of truth in it, we "NEVER" defended or sided with Hitler

Adam Polk

10/25/2012 8:50:28 PM

Aryeh Rapaport, You misunderstood my last comment.

US Observer

10/25/2012 8:03:13 PM

Fair enough Dorus, but conversely, I think you are understating how important their military sales are.

Sid Mark

10/25/2012 7:38:59 PM

Can anyone tell me,a naive person,when and where did Americans fought a war and won it on their own?


10/25/2012 7:03:08 PM

There is no logic and common sense when Turkophobes chime in, blinded by bigotry. Now Turks are guilty of wishing a stable, peaceful and democratic Syria, an important neighbor. Not good when friends with Assad, not good when enemies with Assad. Disregard the tyranny and murder simply because there are Sinni extremists among the rebels? If they were Alevi, it would be ok? Shameless people, really.

Aryeh Rapaport

10/25/2012 4:43:29 PM

Adam, your angry America helped Muslims fight a Christian country (Russia)? Russia was going to take over that country- what are you complaining about?
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