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UK Troops 'Could Help Syria Crisis'

By Evening Standard

November 11, 2012 "Evening Standard" -- British troops could be deployed to intervene in Syria in the event of a major humanitarian crisis, the head of the UK's armed forces has said.

General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said contingency plans were being drawn up in case the onset of winter saw a worsening of conditions on the ground.

He indicated that any intervention would be limited and would need the support of people inside Syria in the areas where assistance was being provided.

Nevertheless such a move would be seen as a potential step towards a full-scale military intervention bringing British forces directly into conflict with the regime of president Bashar Assad.

"It would be a huge effort. We would be very cautious about it," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"There is no ultimately military reason why one shouldn't and I know that all these options are quite rightly being examined. but we are some way off."

He said he expected the humanitarian situation to deteriorate over the winter which could lead to calls to intervene "in a limited way".

"Obviously we develop contingency plans to look at all these things. It is my job to make sure that these options are continually brushed over to make sure that we can deliver them and they are credible," he said.

"The main thing for now that we are all focusing on is to contain the crisis so that it doesn't spill over into countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey.

"That's our primary focus but that would also accommodate a humanitarian crisis because we could help deal with that through that primary mechanism. It is certainly something we have got to look at."

RAF Set For Syria No-Fly Op

By Daily Star Reporter

November 11, 2012 "Daily Star" -  RAF Top Guns could soon be patrolling the skies over Syria under a new Cameron-Obama plan.

The Prime Minister is preparing to use the RAF to enforce no-fly zones across President Assad’s trouble-torn country in a bid to stop mass slaughter.

At this week’s National Security Council meeting in Downing Street Syria will be number one on the agenda.

According to Whitehall sources, British special forces are helping to train rebel assassination squads to target President Assad and his warlords.

Troops from the SAS, SBS and Paras from the Special Reconnaisance Regiment are in Syria helping show insurgents how to use new weapons and explosives.

Mr Cameron and newly re-elected US President Barack Obama are also ­considering military action and officially arming rebels.

The first stage of the plan involves a no-fly zone that will be patrolled by British, US and French forces. Safe havens will be set up in ­Syria, Turkey and Jordan.

A Whitehall aide said: “Cameron and Obama cannot allow Assad to bomb civilians.

“We can’t go in and do it but we can get someone there to have a go.

“A lot of the Free Syrian Army are ex-soldiers, they know how to shoot but need more training from our Special Forces, especially in key signals and communications

Britain backs arming Syrian rebels: The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has split the Western alliance with unexpected proposals to open the door to arming the Syrian opposition, just as the US is becoming alarmed at its Islamist make-up and human rights abuses.

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