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US rules out possibility of sending troops to Syria

January 11, 2013 09:31 IST

Ruling out any immediate possibility of sending troops to war-torn Syria, the United States has said it will do so only when requested to join the international community, in case of a peaceful transition in the country.

"We are not working on options that involve boots on the ground. I think you always have to keep the possibility that if there is a peaceful transition and international organisations get involved, that they might ask for assistance in that situation. But in a hostile situation, we are not planning for that," Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.

"We are not talking about ground troops, but it depends on what happens in a transition. Is there a permissive (or a) hostile atmosphere? And that will tell you a lot," Panetta said.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed apprehension that efforts for preventing the use of chemical weapons in Syria may not be fruitful due to the lack of effective intelligence and persistent surveillance.

He said the US is working with regional partners to address the issue of use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Also, he pointed out the warning given by the United States President to the Assad regime against use of any chemical weapons.

"I think that Syria must understand by now that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. To that extent, it provides a deterrent value. But preventing it, if they decide to use it, I think we would be reacting," he said.

Lalit K Jha
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