On December 6th, 2011, Stratfor researcher Reva Bhalla reported back on a Pentagon meeting he had just attended with an Air Force Strategic Studies Group, which consisted of himself, four Air Force Lieutenant Colonels, as well as a representative from both Britain and France.
Bhalla, who was there to explain the "strategic picture" in Syria to the military officials, asked about the current (Dec. 2011) military picture in Syria, and was given a remarkable response:
After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces. One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn't much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway, but all the operations being done now are being done out of 'prudence.' The way it was put to me was, 'look at this way - the level of information known on Syrian OrBat this month is the best it's been since 2001.' They have been told to prepare contingencies and be ready to act within 2-3 months, but they still stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation...
I kept pressing on the question of what these SOF teams would be working toward, and whether this would lead to an eventual air camapign to give a Syrian rebel group cover. They pretty quickly distanced themselves from that idea, saying that the idea 'hypothetically' is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn't be a need for air cover, and they wouldn't expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway.
This leak, if it is true, confirms much of the reporting being done at that time by Pepe Escobar, Philip Giraldi, Sibel Edmonds, Michel Chossudovsky and others, who insisted that a Western covert operation against the Assad government was taking place. This was also asserted by the Assad government, as well as the Russian and Chinese governments. More importantly, this policy of "guerrilla attacks and assassination campaigns" was, and is still being, denied by the Obama administration, although they are creeping closer to admitting it.
So far, this particular Stratfor email has been picked up by RT, the Russian english-language satellite television network, and Press TV, a similar Iranian network. However, it has been ignored by the American and British Press, save for a report on the Business Insider website.