Claim: U.S. forces on Syrian border. Assad ‘may put military on highest alert’

By Aaron Klein – KleinOnline July 31, 2012

Russian intelligence has information about U.S. troops inside Turkey near the country’s border with Syria, a senior Syrian official told KleinOnline today.

The official said the Russians said they observed American forces taking part in Turkish military measures to secure the Syria-Turkey borders.

The official said the information about a U.S. military presence in Turkey has led to a debate within the Syrian leadership about whether to move the Syrian military to its highest alert level. Currently, the Syrian army is on its second highest alert.

While the presence of U.S. forces inside Turkey could not be immediately verified this is not the first time the American military has been accused of aiding the insurgency targeting Bashar Assad’s regime.

In February, KleinOnline was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, according to several knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials.

The security officials also claimed Saudi Arabia was sending weapons to the rebels via surrogates, including through Druze and Christian leaders in Lebanon such as Druze leader Walid Jumblatt; Saudi-Lebanese billionaire Saad Hariri, who recently served as Lebanon’s prime minister; and senior Lebanese opposition leader Samir Farid Geagea.

The U.S. has repeatedly denied directly arming the rebels, stating it is only providing nonlethal aid.

Any aid to the rebels is highly controversial. There are now widespread reports of al-Qaida among the ranks of the opposition, with some jihadist branches officially joining the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army.

The opposition is currently intensifying the fight against Assad’s forces in the key city of Aleppo amid claims, denied by the rebels, the Syrian military has retaken the city.

KleinOnline reported that Assad held a meeting last week in which he set the goal of entirely quelling the opposition targeting his regime by October, according to a senior Syrian official.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Assad ordered his military to rid the Damascus region, including Aleppo, of rebels by the end of Ramadan on Aug. 18. He said Assad believes he can clear the opposition from the region of Homs by Sept. 10 and end the insurgency by October.

The official admitted the coming weeks will be “bloody.” He affirmed Russia stands squarely in the Syrian camp.

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