Scenarios of possible Canadian involvement in Syria revealed

Soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad pose with their weapons as they celebrating taking control of al-Sakhra village. (Reuters)

Internal documents obtained by a Canadian newspaper show that Ottawa has drawn up at least five scenarios in which it could be involved in the three-year Syrian conflict, including the deployment of Canadian Forces.

The Ottawa Citizen paper said on Monday that while Canada’s federal government has no official plans so far for the country to be dragged in the conflict, the National Defense has developed five scenarios to address the problem of “rapidly deteriorating conditions in Syria, its impact on neighboring countries and … the importance of Middle East stability.”

Military intervention is included in one of the potential scenarios, per the existence of is “a legitimate armed opposition group has been recognized” by Canada.

The scenarios rest on the several assumptions, such as the Syrian government remains “defiant,” and include possible outcomes for each plan, including those “most likely” and the “worst case.”

Worst case scenarios include extremist groups getting ahold of advanced or chemical weapons or the conflict spilling beyond Syria’s borders.

Further specifics about the remaining scenarios have been censored.

Theodore Karasik, the Dubai-based Director of Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), reasons that the conflict affects a myriad of countries not just in the region but globally.

“Many countries face the threat from the Syrian theater because jihadists there have gained incredible battlefield experience and were further indoctrinated of jihadist violence,” he told Al Arabiya News.

Karasik urged all countries prepare adequately if they intervene in the conflict which must include a contingency plan.

“Not only militaries but police forces have to be prepared as well,” he added.

While the United States and its main ally, the United Kingdom, have both had their parliaments veto a military airstrike against the Syrian regime over chemical weapons accusations last year, a source who spoke to Al Arabiya News on the condition of anonymity said “in [neighboring] Jordan, the Brits are on ground already, in special operations forces.”

Hinting at additional covert support from other nations, the source added: “It is to varying degrees of how these [NATO] countries are involved and under what circumstances.”

Additional documents show that Canada has already started training anti-sectarian activists, journalists and others so they can provide a political alternative to Islamic extremist groups if the fighting stops.

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Last Update: Thursday, 17 April 2014 KSA 17:19 - GMT 14:19
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