Sunday, January 22, 2012

NATO not even thinking of Syria operation: top general

NATO is not planning or even "thinking" of intervening in Syria, the alliance's most senior officer said Thursday, days after a top Russian official said such plans were in the making.

"There is no planning and we are not thinking about an intervention," General Knud Bartels, head of NATO's Military Committee, told a news conference after a two-day meeting of the alliance's military chiefs.

During the talks, he said nations from NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue -- a forum including Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia -- "expressed their concerns about the upheaval we are seeing in the region."

"But there was no dicussion at all of a military intervention," said Bartels, the former head of Danish armed forces, who replaced Admiral Giampaolo Di Paolo in January after the Italian officer became defence minister.

Last week, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev claimed that NATO members and some Arab states, using lessons from Libya, "intend to turn the current interference with Syrian affairs into a direct military intervention". Read More