The situation in Syria grows worse by the minute. President Assad seems to have taken the UN Security Council’s deadlock as carte blanche to launch an all-out attack on Homs. Russia looks like she wants to mediate, while Turkey is preparing a new initiative with countries who oppose the Syrian government, a sort of anti-Assad group. Meanwhile, the Gulf States have expelled all Syrian ambassadors.
The Henry Jackson Society has come out strongly in favour of an intervention, arguing that the creation of a safe area in the northwest province of Idlib, centred in the city of Jisr al-Shughour, as well as a no-fly zone covering the western corridor of the country, could work.
Its report suggests using Turkish ground troops to establish the safe area, and Western or NATO air forces to impose the no-fly zone. But the Turks are non-committal at this stage, while other regional players are more cautious still, fearing that an intervention will cause a bloody civil war. Writing in the New York Times, Beirut-based Nicholas Noe argues for ‘a realistic, albeit distasteful, strategy that seeks to steadily defuse the conflict rather than watch it explode in everyone’s face. And that means dealing with Mr. Assad.’