UK aimed to train 100,000 Syria terrorists
Britain had plans to train and equip about 100,000 militants in Syria to help topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a report reveals.
Britain’s state-run BBC reported on Thursday that the secret initiative was put forward in 2012 by then military chief General Sir David Richards, who proposed vetting and training a “substantial army” of militants at bases in Jordan and Turkey.
Citing Whitehall sources, the news agency said the plan was considered by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Dominic Grieve QC, and was sent to the National Security Council (NSC). US officials, including Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, were also informed of the plan.
Cameron was told that the plan to form the anti-Assad militant group would take a year. He was also told that, once ready, the militants would march on Damascus, with the cover of fighter jets from the West and Persian Gulf Arab state allies.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has declined to comment.
The plan, which was thought to be too risky, was dropped at the time. But Cameron, later in August 2013, was persuaded to consider military action over the alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus, which was defeated in a Commons vote.
The US and its allies, including Britain, have openly supported the militancy in Syria. US President Barack Obama’s administration last week asked Congress for $500 million for the US military to train and equip those armed Syrian oppositionists that the White House calls “moderate.”
Syria has been gripped by deadly crisis since March 2011. According to some sources, over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence in the Arab country.