Few workable options to secure chemical arsenal in Syria
Airstrikes on depots of chemical weapons could release toxic gases or expose the munitions to looters. Ground operations could require thousands of troops and targeted operations by special forces could easily go wrong, Israel Hayom reports.
"We need to be up front that this is not something very easy to do," Steven Bucci, a former senior Defense Department official, said, according to Israel Hayom.
Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, is thought to possess one of the biggest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world. The U.S. and other nations are afraid that al-Assad could use the weapons or allow them to fall into the hands of extremist groups.
Because airstrikes could harm civilians and small, pinpoint operations could easily fail, a large force of troops might be the only way to effectively secure the weapons, according to Israel Hayom.
"(Using special forces) would necessitate putting troops in harm's way, without overwhelming support," Scott Stewart, a former anti-terrorism investigator at the U.S. State Department, said, according to Israel Hayom. "The only way to secure all the sites in a comprehensive manner is through a large ground force, which is politically untenable at this point."
Because the U.S. is unlikely to intervene militarily in the conflict, the West will currently stick to the options of containment and deterrence.
U.S. special operations forces are currently in Jordan to help local officials protect civilians from potential chemical attacks.