PENTAGON OFFICIALS SAY DRONES USED TO GATHER EVIDENCE TO MAKE CASE FOR INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE; 40 TURKISH INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS CAPTURED IN SYRIA, ASSAD REGIME CLAIMS
'S MOSSAD TRAINED THEM. ISRAEL
United States is flying unmanned reconnaissance planes over Syria to monitor the regime's escalating crackdown on dissent, defense officials told NBC television on Saturday. U.S.
The drones are being used to gather evidence on the Syrian security forces' violence against pro-democracy protesters that can be used to "make a case for a widespread international response," the U.S.-based broadcaster quoted the unnamed officials as saying.
The Pentagon officials stressed that the
is not preparing the ground for a military intervention, but is simply collecting evidence of President Bashar Assad's crackdown on protesters. U.S.
There was no official comment from
on the report. Syria
The West has ruled out a Libya-style military intervention in
to stop 11 months of bloodshed. Syria
Meanwhile, there have been disagreements regarding what action must be taken against
. Syria Turkey refuses to set up buffer zones for civilians on its border with , and demands that the transfer of equipment and medicine be done via the sea and not through its territory. Syria
While the Syrian army continued to attack Daraa and
Homs with tanks and heavy artillery, large protests also took place in Damascus, as well as , a city which hasn't taken part in anti-regime protests regularly thus far. Aleppo
The resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly condemning
, supported by 137 countries, has not impressed the Syrian regime which is only escalating its war against the opposition and widening its war zones. Syria Russiacontinues to come to aid of the Assad regime with weapon shipments, and on Friday two Iranian warships passed through the Suez Canal on the way to Tartus port in . Syria
Western officials fear that Iranian military presence along with Russian aid could turn
Syria into a center of international friction much worse than the struggle inside . They fear that the control over actions in Syria Syria will be taken over by a Russian-Iranian "partnership" which would exclude the European Union and Turkey and that involvement could be too late and inefficient. U.S.
Turkey, who mediated several weeks ago between the Free Syria Army and Iran to secure the release of several Iranian citizens who were captured by the rebels, rejects Syria's demands, and for this reason Turkish sources believe that Turkey will soon decide on hardening its stance on Syria.