The EU has approved a new plan to deploy 3,000 peacekeeping troops in Syria, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. The plan was first introduced by Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN-Arab League peace envoy to Syria.
The soldiers sent to Syria will possibly include European nationals. Ashton also said that she expected Russian participation in any successful peace plan, RIA Novosti news agency reports.
UK and US soldiers are unlikely to participate in the mission due to their countries’ deployments in Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph reported. However, the new peace plan may draw on troops currently involved in UNIFIL, the mission founded to guard the Israel-Lebanon border. The 15,000 soldiers stationed there include forces from Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Brahimi previously stressed that the key to resolving the conflict in Syria is dialogue, rather than the use of military force. He also tried to downplay expectations, saying it may be “nearly impossible” for him to succeed.
The plan was revealed on Saturday as Lakhdar Brahmi visited Istanbul in a bid to calm rising tensions between Syria and Turkey ahead of his trip to Damascus to broker a ceasefire.
Hostilities between the two nations spiraled after Turkish F-16 fighter jets forced a Syrian Air passenger plane to land in Ankara over allegations that it was carrying military cargo last week. The plane departed Turkey after a nine-hour inspection. Turkish officials pressed the crew to sign affidavits that no fighter jets were involved in the incident, and that it was an emergency landing, the plane’s engineer said.
On Sunday, Syria closed its airspace to Turkish passenger flights; Ankara responded by closing its airspace to Syrian flights.
13.10, 07:2129 comments
The Turkish interception of a Syrian civilian jet heading to Damascus from Moscow was yet another attempt to provoke Assad to give the West a reason to strike Syria, Sibel Edmonds of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition told RT.Syria unrest