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Syria: 'Italy ready' to intervene militarily post-Assad

last update: September 04, 12:18

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Rome, 4 Sept. (AKI) - Italy would be ready to send military forces to Syria in the event that president Bashar Assad is toppled, according to Italian defense minister Giampaolo Di Paola.

''Italy has the ability to do it," he said Tuesday during an interview on Rai state television. "i think that the international community would have to contribute," he said, stressing that he is not endorsing intervention.

Di Paola's comments follow a meeting of Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi and other government officials met on Monday to make plans for what they dubbed the ''post Assad'' period, when Syrian president Bashar Assad is toppled.

After the meeting, the Italian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the most important issue will be humanitarian aid, which includes helping the 200 thousand Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey and Jordan, as well as 1.5 million internally displaced people within Syrian borders.

Opposition organisations say more than 26,000 people have died in the violence that broke out amid anti-government protests in March 2011. Similar to the United Nations and other western countries, they blame Assad for most of the killing. The Syrian government routinely responds by blaming ''terrorists'' for the violence.

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