US general says Syria action could be ‘more substantial than thought’
A former US army chief has claimed that Barack Obama is eyeing intervention in Syria that would go beyond a mere deterrent against chemical weapons to damage the military capacity of the Assad regime.
By Hannah Strange
03 Sep 2013
General Jack Keane, a former vice chief of staff of the US Army, told BBC Radio 4 that he had spoken to senior Republican senators who had been briefed by the US president on Monday, and had been assured that Mr Obama planned to do significant damage to the forces of Bashar al-Assad.
The Obama administration has previously said that military strikes would not be aimed at toppling Assad’s government nor altering the balance of the conflict. Instead, the White House has suggested, they would be intended to punish Assad for the alleged gas attack in Damascus on Aug 21 and to reinstate Washington’s “red line” against the use of chemical weapons.
But Gen. Keane said he understood Mr Obama was planning a more substantial intervention in Syria than had previously been thought, with increased support for the opposition forces, including training from US troops.