Earlier today was this:
Sources close to the French Defense Ministry reported Friday, Dec. 7, that a Western-Arab military intervention against the Assad regime is due to begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations. The reference is to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar’s special forces.
Military sources add that the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle carrying a complement of marines is deployed in the Mediterranean, having joined the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and at least five British warships which are also carrying a large marine force.
In the second and third weeks of November, British and French naval forces, plus 2,600 special ops combatants from both nations, performed landing-and-capture exercises against fortified locations on the coast and mountains of Albania as practice for potential operations against similar terrain in Syria, where the Alawite Mountains loom over the coastal towns of Latakia and Tartus.
The troops landing there would head for the Alawite Mts. to prevent Assad and his loyal units from retreating to his mountain stronghold and fighting on from there – as he plans to do if he is forced to flee Damascus.
French sources told Le Point magazine that the NATO mission for Syria, including the UK and the US, would be modeled on the Western intervention in Libya in 2011. It would combine an aerial blitz with ground action by special forces for destroying Assad’s chemical weapons stocks, his air force and his air defense systems.
… and now this update:
The danger that Syrian ruler Bashar Assad will now resort to chemical warfare shot up Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, after the rebels captured the “chloride factory” at Al Safira east of Aleppo.
This is a codename for the Syrian army’s biggest chemical weapons store and base, which also houses Syrian Scud D missiles armed with chemical warheads adjusted to fire at Israel. Assad’s warning to the rebels not to fight with chemical weapons is taken as a means of justifying his own resort to chemical weapons and brought this threat closer than ever before. The West, Israel and Syria’s other neighbors have gone on elevated preparedness.
The fall of Al Safira into rebel hands crosses a red line and places the Assad regime in direct peril. Possession of the chemical-tipped Scuds gives the rebels their strongest weapon for forcing the Syria army to capitulate.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier Saturday that the UK and the US have seen evidence that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons. There was enough evidence from intelligence sources to know “that they need a warning,” he said at a security conference in Bahrain. “The President of the United Sates warned of serious consequences and he meant it,” said the British minister.
British intelligence sources told the BBC that Syria’s chemical weapons are concentrated at five air bases and are being closely watched. They said contingency plans have been drawn up if they show signs of being readied to be loaded and used as weapons.