22 March 2013, 15:40

US prepares drone strikes on Syria

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The United States is preparing pre-emptive drone strikes on what is thought to be Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Although President Barack Obama urged to wait for a final confirmation of Syria using chemical weapons near the city of Aleppo, the CIA has already started relevant preparations. For its part, the US Congress has launched a procedure of approving drone strikes because under the US Constitution, it is Congress that should give the go-ahead for any US military involvements abroad. 

A special group tasked with assessing specific targets in Syria has already been formed in Langley, where CIA officers from Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia were summoned to. Earlier, these officers dealt with targeting drones in these four countries. Newly appointed CIA Director John Brennan is believed to be a strong supporter of using drones in the so-called remote warfare.

Representatives of the CIA held secret briefings for intelligence committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, something that is typically being done ahead of important decision-makings by the White House.

Speaking to reporters after a closed-door Senate session in Washington earlier this week, Senate Intelligence Committee  Chair Dianne Feinstein declined to comment on whether a drone strike on Syria is inevitable.  

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For his part, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers said that if the Assad regime crosses the red line it will not be able to count on concessions.  

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The CIA’s special group for Syria is closely cooperating with special services of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in the region. The group is obtaining all possible information about targets, their characteristics and protection systems. According to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, the group is also compiling detailed reports about active supporters of al-Qaeda in resistance groupings. Washington is concerned over the fact that the opposition’s most radical Islamic groups have secured more victories in Syria over the past few months. The Los Angeles Time says that these reports may be used for helping moderate elements of the opposition get the better of radicals. It seems that efforts are being made to destroy those whom Washington describes as al-Qaeda agents. 

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