British and Qatari special operations units are operating with rebel forces under cover in the Syrian city of Homs just 162 kilometers from Damascus, according to DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources.Our sources report the two foreign contingents have set up four centers of operation - in the northern Homs district of Khaldiya, Bab Amro in the east, and Bab Derib and Rastan in the north. Each district is home to about a quarter of a million people.The British-Qatari troop presence in Homs was at the center of Assad's talks in Damascus Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian SVR intelligence chief Mikhail Fradkov. Senior Syrian intelligence officers laid their updates from the field before the Russian visitors and received SVR data and evaluations in return.
...the debate in Washington has shifted away from diplomacy and towards more robust action since Russia and China blocked a United Nations resolution condemning Syria.The Pentagon’s Central Command has begun a preliminary internal review of US military capabilities in the region, which one senior official called a “scoping exercise” that would provide options for the president if and when they were requested.Influential figures in Washington have recommended setting up a “humanitarian corridor” or safe haven, while others, such as Senator John McCain, have said it was time to consider arming the rebels of the Free Syrian Army.
Any plan to supply aid or set up a buffer zone would involve a military dimension to protect aid convoys or vulnerable civilians.
“The decision-makers have not determined we are at a point of no return,” the senior official told The Daily Telegraph. “There is still a window, it is just that that window is closing.