The Pentagon is readying for the possibility of intervention in Syria, aiming to halt Syrian President Bashsar Assad's violent crackdown on protesters, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday, citing a US military offical.
Keep in mind the RTP ("responsibility to protect") doctrine as discussed in "Saturday Headlines" below.
According to the official, the intervention scenario calls for the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish border, in order to receive Syrian refugees. The Red Cross would then provide the civilians humanitarian aid, before NATO crews would arrive from Turkey and join the efforts.
The measure would pave the way for the US to declare an aerial blockade on Syria.
The intercession is to be modeled after NATO's efforts in Kosovo, which brought an end to the Serbian control of the region. NATO's plan of action included prolonged aerial shelling.
The next step in the reported US Department of Defense plan would be to appoint a team of UN observers to monitor the humanitarian aid, and enter Syria. They would need aerial protection, which would eventually lead to an aerial blockade.
In his most forceful words to date on the Syrian crisis, US President Barack Obama said Friday the US and its allies would use "every tool available" to end the bloodshed by Assad's government.
This situation continues to evolve rapidly as the violence worsens. The so-called 'international community' is just on the verge of taking additional steps - steps that would ultimately uproot Assad from his position and he seems ready to avoid that at all costs, including a war with Israel.
Stay tuned on this one.
And below, we see even more pressure placed on the international community to enact the RTP doctrine:
The Syrian military took its bombardment of the rebel-held Baba Amro district of Homs into a fourth week on Saturday as the Red Cross tried to evacuate more distressed civilians from the city.
Deploring the outcome of an international "Friends of Syria" conference, opposition activists said the world had abandoned them to be killed by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
A video uploaded by activists in Homs' Khalidiya district showed crowds at a funeral, shouting "We swear to God we will not be silent about our martyrs." In the background, clouds of smoke were rising from buildings that activists said had been hit by shell fire.
Civilians are enduring desperate conditions in Baba Amro.
"We have hundreds of wounded people crammed into houses," the activist Husseini said. "People are dying from lack of blood because we just don't have the capability of treating everyone."