TEL AVIV – U.S. strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria are once again being pushed by top security officials, but President Barack Obama is unlikely to give the go ahead, according to reports.
Obama has maintained the view that the potential fallout from direct intervention in the war-torn country outweighs any benefits.
However, several national security secretaries are reportedly claiming that the situation has changed since President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his civilians three years ago.
“There’s an increased mood in support of kinetic actions against the regime,” one senior administration official said, referring to the options under consideration.
According to the Washington Post, those options include bombing Syrian command centers and airstrips using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships, potentially in covert strikes to circumvent the need to procure a UN Security Council resolution.
“The CIA and the Joint Staff have said that the fall of Aleppo would undermine America’s counterterrorism goals in Syria,” the official said.
Apart from the risk posed by groups like the Islamic State, the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo has become even more nightmarish since Assad implemented a “starve or surrender” strategy, officials argued.
Another reason Obama is being urged to act is to get ahead of the next president come November. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have expressed support for humanitarian safe zones in northern Syria that would require kinetic action to protect them from Assad or Russian forces. According to the president’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, such a policy would require tens of thousands of U.S. ground troops but would greatly ease the burden of refugees on Europe.
Ahead of meetings of the Principal Committee and the National Security Council in which current U.S. policy regarding Syria will be reassessed, Russia this week deployed more sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries in Syria.
According to a spokesperson for the State Department, all options are on the table now that Washington has suspended lines of communication with Moscow over the Syrian conflict.