International air and missile strikes against Syria could be launched Thursday of this week 2708137


Defence & Security News - Syria

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 04:51 PM
International air and missile strikes against Syria could be launched Thursday of this week.
Missile strikes against Syria could be launched “as early as Thursday, August 29, 2013” senior U.S. officials said Tuesday, August 27, 2013, as the White House intensified its push toward an international response to the suspected use of chemical weapons.


The “three days” of strikes would be limited in scope, and aimed at sending a message to Syria's President Bashar Assad rather than degrading his military capabilities, U.S. officials told NBC News.

News on the possible timescale for military action followed another round of telephone diplomacy by President Barack Obama and his administration.

Obama held discussions with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and French President Francois Hollande on Monday, while Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in addition to political leaders in Britain, France, Jordan Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The U.S. officials reiterated that any military action would not aim to kill Assad and would be limited because the goal would be to respond to the use of chemical weapons. Command and control bunkers, airfields and artillery would be targeted.

The rebel Free Syria Army’s top general, Salim Idris, said Tuesday that air strikes were needed to stop Assad from launching more chemical attacks.

“If there is no action, we are afraid that in the coming days, not coming weeks, Bashar will use chemical weapons and chemical materials against very wide areas and, I’m afraid, to kill maybe 20,000 or 30,000 more people,” he told NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel.

Some U.S. allies, most notably Britain, have signaled that a quick, limited military strike on Syria could take place without U.N. Security Council approval. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that such a move would be "a very grave violation of international law."