US and Turkish sources report that Admiral James Winnfeld, Vice-Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff informed Turkey of a peace plan negotiated with Moscow for keeping Assad in power and barring the creation of buffer zones. Instead, the UN was studying the deployment in Syria of a peacekeeping force.
During his visit to Ankara in the third week of October, the US admiral said that Washington’s plans for Syria would be fully revealed after the Nov. 6 presidential election.
The deal with Moscow runs counter to the policies of the Syrian rebels’ regional backers, Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar and Turkey who are dedicated to regime change in Damascus. DEBKAfile: It must also have stood high on the agenda of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks this week with President Francois Hollande, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s conferences with British officials in London.