Dozens of US diplomats urge military strikes against Syria’s Assad
More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo critical of U.S. policy in Syria, calling for military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s government to stop its persistent violations of a civil war ceasefire.
The “dissent channel cable” was signed by 51 mid- to high-level State Department officers advising on Syria policy.
It calls for “targeted military strikes” against the Syrian government in light of the near-collapse of the ceasefire brokered earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing copies of the cable it had seen.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Copenhagen, told Reuters on Friday: “It’s an important statement and I respect the process, very, very much. I will … have a chance to meet with people when I get back (to Washington).”
He said he had not seen the memo.
Military strikes against the Assad government would represent a major change in the Obama administration’s policy of not intervening directly in the Syrian civil war, while calling for a political transition that would see Assad leave power.
Such strikes would put the United States on a collision course with Russia, which is backing Assad with air strikes, equipment, training and military advice.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had only seen media reports about the memo, but said: “Calls for the violent overthrow of authorities in another country are unlikely to be accepted in Moscow.
“The liquidation of this or some other regime is hardly what is needed to aid the successful continuation of the battle against terrorism. Such a move is capable of plunging the region into complete chaos.”