A report Saturday said that the United States was planning to intervene militarily in Syria, with or without United Nations authorization, if the killing in the country continued. A senior American official quoted in the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper said that the action would be based on the UN intervention in Kosovo several years ago: Establishment of a beachhead and carving out an area that was off-limits to forces controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, where refugees could come to flee Assad's troops, and which could be used as aforward base to reduce Assad's hold on the country, and eventually remove him.
The official said the Red Cross was prepared to offer assistance to refugees in this scenario. Later, NATO forces based in Turkey would join in the effort to beat back Assad's troops. At some point, the U.S. will declare Syria closed to air traffic, a move that American officials believe could bring down a weakened Assad government, as it did in 1999, when Serbia surrendered control of Kosovo, after the UN failed to pass resolutions demanding an end to the violence in that region. There, too, similar to the situation in Syria, Russia opposed UN action, while China abstained from supporting the UN Security Council resolutions on Kosovo. And in a manner similar to the events in Kosovo, U.S. air power would be used to bomb strategic assets supporting Assad.
American officials do not believe that Russia or China will change their stance. But, the official said in the interview, American analysts believe that either or both countries could send their troops in as peacekeepers during a later stage of the action.
Once Assad is out of the picture, the official said, it was expected that the UN would supervise the new situation, and work to prevent pro-Assad forces from trying to gain control of the country again.
Over 100 people were killed by Assad's forces in Syria over the weekend. On Friday, U.S. President Barack H. Obama said that “the time had come for change in Syria,” and that “Assad needs to get the message” that the time had come for change. Obama said he planned to continue pressuring Syria, and that the U.S. would use “every means possible” to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians. He added that the international community needed to work together to remove Assad.