Panetta warns against military intervention in Syria
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday against military intervention in Syria and stressed the US would continue its diplomatic and economic pressure on the regime, dpa reported.
"We must also be mindful, as Secretary (of State Hillary Rodham) Clinton has noted, of the possibility that outside military intervention will make a volatile situation even worse and place even more innocent civilians at risk," he told a hearing in Congress.
He said the Defence Department was reviewing its plans for a variety of scenarios, as is common procedure, but that the focus remained on pressuring President Baschar al-Assad in other ways. The US is supplying the Syrian opposition with communications equipment and medicine, including 25 million dollars in humanitarian aid, but has so far warned against providing arms.
"Our only clear path is to keep moving diplomatically with the international community in a resolute and deliberate manner to find a way to return Syria to the Syrian people," he said. "If we remain dedicated to that effort, I think we ultimately can prevail."
The situation in Syria cannot be solved by unilateral action by the United States or any other nation, but must be dealt with in a coordinated international effort, Panetta said.
"There is no silver bullet; I wish there was but there isn't," he said.