Pentagon officials are said to be drawing up “options” for the international community regarding the security of Syria’s chemical weapons, pending disarmament, but insisted that those plans will not involve any US troops on the ground.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little indicated that the heavy lifting of securing the arms would remain the job of the Assad government’s military, saying it “owes this much to the international community.”
CENTCOM officials familiar with the planning say that there is “nothing very complex” about securing the actual chemical weapon sites, though of course the ongoing civil war in the nation has forced Syria to repeatedly move their stockpiles to keep them away from al-Qaeda-dominated rebel factions.
That there’s an ever-worsening war going on all around Syria also means Syria’s military is kind of busy to be putting a ton of their forces into security for the international inspectors, and even if they do, the rebels have shown an ability to hit targets nationwide, including in the most heavily secured areas.
That’s left the Assad government to rely on security through obscurity, moving the arms to secret locations, to keep them away from rebels who don’t have good intel on where they are. Once Syria reveals it to the international community, the options for moving them again become extremely limited, meaning security could be a long-term problem beyond what the Pentagon is couching it as.