According to a senior U.S. intelligence official reached Sunday by EIR, there is a growing danger of the Turkey- Syria border conflict escalating out of control into a general war. This is different from his assessment just 72 hours ago. The source confirmed that the Turkish government is out to create a buffer zone inside Syrian territory, where the Free Syrian Army can operate more freely. To achieve this, the Turkish military seized upon the errant mortar fire that killed five Turkish civilians last week, to launch artillery attacks across the border into Syria, to drive Syrian Army forces away. They calculated that the Syrian regime does not wish to get into a border war with Turkey at the same time that they face a foreign-armed and funded insurgency inside the country.
These kinds of calculations, the source acknowledged, can always backfire. NATO does have contingency plans to join Turkey in military operations against Syria if a cross-border war actually erupts. In addition to Turkey, the source emphasized, the Europeans are more than willing to bring NATO into the conflict, believing that this will lead to the overthrow of the Assad government faster than through the current plan for supporting the armed opposition. The U.S., the source reported, is the only leading NATO country that is at all resistant to a full-scale war to overthrow Assad, largely due to extreme opposition coming from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the intelligence community. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in addition to his recent warnings about a "catastrophic consequence" of any military action against Iran, has also warned against a no-fly zone in Syria, repeating his opposition at the time to the Libya operation, noting that a no-fly zone begins with an act of war and can only escalate from there.