SAS Set up Safe Camps in Syria


BRITISH defence chiefs have drawn up secret plans to set up safe havens for Syrians fleeing President Assad’s killers.

Special Forces will help ­protect the refugees in Syria along the borders.

Last week as the president ignored an international ceasefire, plans were being finalised to ­rescue thousands of Syrians.

SAS troops and MI6 agents are in the country ready to help rebels if civil war breaks out as ­expected this weekend.

They also have ­hi-tech satellite computers and radios that can instantly send back photos and details of refugees and ­Assad’s forces as the situation develops.

Whitehall sources say it is vital they can see what is ­happening on the ground for ­themselves so Assad cannot deny atrocities or battles.

And if civil war breaks out the crack troops are on hand to help with fighting, said the ­insider.

Foreign secretary William Hague has refused to rule out using ­military action to stop Assad’s ­regime attacking his own people.

“Safe havens would be an invasion of Syria but a chance to save lives,” said a senior Whitehall source.

“The SAS will throw an armed screen round these areas that can be set up within hours.

“There are guys in the communications unit who are signallers that can go right up front and get ­involved in close-quarter fighting.”

The rebel Syrian Free Army has ­dismissed the UN-backed truce as “a failure” and is ­resuming “defensive” operations despite the ceasefire required by the peace plan.

Nearly 2,300 Syrians have been killed since the ceasefire ­supposedly took effect in mid April.

Last week 108 men, women and children were slaughtered in Houla in what is widely believed to be a regime-led massacre.

The British troops would be part of an international force ­including French and Turkish soldiers and possibly Americans.

Safe havens are expected to be set up around areas that are easily ­accessible and even within walking distance of troublespots.

Among them is Krak des ­Chevaliers, a medieval castle about 25 miles west of Homs, close to the Lebanon border.

It is also a World Heritage site.

Another is As Suwayda, near the border with Jordan and Jisr al-Shughour near the Turkish border.

Refugees gathered there have put up camps in the hills and thousands more are heading there.

It is thought ­Syrian forces would not dare to come that close to the border.

There is also the safe haven of Sanliurfa in Turkey on the Syrian border.

Daily Star Sunday

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