ZAATARI, Jordan (AP) — Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad shifted dramatically Wednesday, with Britain announcing it will deal directly with rebel military leaders and Turkey saying NATO members have discussed using Patriot missiles to protect a safe zone inside Syria.
The developments came within hours of Barack Obama’s re-election, with U.S. allies anticipating a new, bolder approach from the American president to end the deadlocked civil war that has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting a camp Wednesday for Syrian refugees in Jordan, said the U.S., Britain and other allies should do more to “shape the opposition” into a coherent force and open channels of communication directly with rebel military commanders.
Previously, Britain and the U.S. have acknowledged contacts only with exile groups and political opposition figures — some connected to rebel forces — inside Syria.
“There is an opportunity for Britain, for America, for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and like-minded allies to come together and try to help shape the opposition, outside Syria and inside Syria,” Cameron said. “And try to help them achieve their goal, which is our goal of a Syria without Assad.”
The Turkish official who reported Patriot missile discussions between his nation and its allies, including the United States, said planning for the safe zone inside Syria had been put on hold pending the U.S. election.
The foreign ministry official spoke on condition of anonymity because of ministry prohibitions on contact with the media.
He also said any missile deployment might happen under a “NATO umbrella,” though NATO has insisted it will not intervene without a clear United Nations mandate.
“With the re-election of Obama, what you have is a strong confidence on the British side that the U.S. administration will be engaged more on Syria from the get-go,” said Shashank Joshi, an analyst at London’s Royal United Services Institute, a military and security think tank.
On the ground in Syria, rebels were making a new push into the capital Wednesday, clashing heavily with troops in the suburbs of Damascus, including Ghouta and Harasta.
Britain would offer an extra 14 million pounds ($22 million) in humanitarian aid, bringing its total funding to 53.5 million pounds ($85.5 million) — making it the second largest donor after the United States.
The U.S. has no business in Syria and establishing another Muslim Brotherhood stronghold does absolutely no good. Taxpayers have been bilked out of more than $100 million dollars – all wasted on Muslims as parts of New York and New Jersey are ravaged and U.S. citizens struggle in third world like conditions with no food or electricity.
Update: Obama has donated $34 million to help Syrian refugees, boosting a U.N. plan to provide $836 million in aid. Your taxes.