DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 28, 2011, 7:56 PM (GMT+02:00)
A group of military officers from NATO and Persian Gulf nations have quietly established a mixed operational command at Iskenderun in the Turkish Hatay province on the border of North Syria, debkafile's military sources report. Hailing from the United States, France, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Turkish officers providing liaison, they do not represent NATO but are self-designated "monitors." Their mission is to set up "humanitarian corridors" inside Syria to serve the victims of Bashar Assad's crackdown. Commanded by ground, naval, air force and engineering officers, the task force aims to move into most of northern Syria.
Laying the groundwork for the legitimacy of the combined NATO-Arab intervention in Syria, the UN Independent International Commission set up to assess the situation in Syria published a horrendous report Monday, Nov. 28 on the Assad regime's brutalities. It documented "gross violations of human rights" and "patterns of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture including sexual violence, as well as violations of children's rights."
Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem fought back by showing a press conference Monday photos of dismembered bodies of Syrian soldiers as proof of the atrocities he claimed were perpetrated by the anti-Assad opposition. He also complained that "the Arab League and others refuse to believe that there is a foreign conspiracy targeting Syria."
debkafile military sources report exclusively that the Western-Arab intervention in the Syrian crisis is in an advanced state of operational planning. It entails a buffer zone in northern Syria encompassing beleaguered towns, primarily Idlib, Rastan and Homs - but also Aleppo, Syria's largest city (2.5 million mostly Sunni and Kurdish inhabitants).
The protest movement never caught on in Aleppo, home to the moneyed classes who run the country's financial and trading sectors, and it was confined to the highway network feeding the city. Therefore, for the Assad regime, bringing Aleppo into the "humanitarian corridor" system under foreign military control will round of the damage caused by the economic sanctions approved this week by the Arab League. Losing Aleppo will fatally hammer the economy into the ground and rob the Syrian ruler of funding for sustaining his military crackdown to wipe out the unrest in the areas remaining under his control.
Aware of this threat, Foreign Minister al-Moallem accused the Arab League of declaring economic war on Syria.