The UK plans designed to train and equip 100,000 Syrian rebels in order to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, according to the BBC revealed today. The initiative was rejected by Prime Minister David Cameron, the National Security Council and several senior U.S. officials as “too risky”.
The plan was introduced two years ago by the then head of the British General Staff, David Richards. He thought his proposal could have reduced the number of civilian casualties in Syria as well as allow them to stand up to troops loyal to Assad.
The plan included training and equipping an army of moderate rebels in Turkey and Jordan, a process for which an international coalition would be necessary. The proposed time frame was one year, during which an opposition government in exile was to be formed.
Once finished with training, these troops would march to Damascus, with aerial coverage of the Gulf countries and some Western states, based on the military doctrine of Shock and Awe, implemented by the United States against Iraq in 2003.
Although the plan was initially rejected, returned to the table after the chemical attack executed in August 2013 in the vicinity of Damascus, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.
However, the British Parliament voted against the intervention, and the U.S. decided not to take the step after the agreement with Syria, mediated by Russia, to the elimination of its chemical weapons.