Russian official: NATO will be in Syria

Jan. 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A Russian official says NATO and some of Syria's neighbors are planning a military intervention like the one that helped topple Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Russian security council, said he had seen intelligence suggesting NATO would establish a no-fly zone over Syria, The Daily Telegraph reported. Turkey would supply ground troops.

"We are getting information that NATO members and some Persian Gulf states, operating according to the Libya scenario, intend to move from indirect intervention in Syrian affairs to direct military intervention," Patrushev told the newspaper Kommersant in an interview published Thursday.

A NATO spokesman said the alliance has no plans to intervene in Syria.

"There is no discussion of a NATO role with respect to Syria," Carmen Romero said

Patrushev suggested Syria has become a target because of its friendly ties with Iran. He said Turkey's rivalry with Iran has made it willing to intervene against its former ally.

"Syria has not become an object of interest for a new coalition of the willing in itself," he said. "The plan is to punish Damascus not so much for repressing the opposition as for its unwillingness to sever its friendly relations with Tehran."

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