CIA, Pentagon chiefs say Russia will breach Syria truce
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:15PM
US President Barack Obama's top military and intelligence advisers have expressed doubt on Russia's willingness to abide by the recently-announced ceasefire in Syria, saying they want Moscow to feel "real pain," according to a US government official.
In their recent meetings in the White House, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan have voiced increasingly hawkish views towards Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing a senior administration official.
Carter, Dunford and Brennan have even unanimously called for new measures to "inflict real pain on the Russians,' the official added.
The comments came shortly after a draft deal was reached between Russia and the US on Monday, calling for a ceasefire to start in Syria in late February.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Saturday that he was ready for a ceasefire in case the terrorists did not use it to advance their ambitions and that countries backing them stop their support.
Russia has been conducting airstrikes in the Arab country since late September upon a request from Damascus. Washington accuses Moscow of targeting militants the Pentagon has specifically trained to fight against Assad's government in Syria.
US officials say they doubt if stepped-up support for the militants would make much of a difference at this stage, given the amount how much ground they have lost in the wake of Russia's attacks.
According to the WSJ report, Carter and Gen. Dunford have yet to make formal recommendations to Obama on possible "Plan B" options should the ceasefire collapse, although discussions are ongoing in Washington.
US intelligence agencies have warned Obama that if the US leaves so-called "moderate" militants at Russia's mercy, then the Saudis or some other group could break ranks with America and send portable anti-aircraft weapons to Syria to down Russian warplanes.
Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people.
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