Syria growing more 'complex' as civil war rages on, says Dempsey

The increasingly combustible situation in Syria is growing more complex by the day, as the country slogs its way into its third year of civil war, according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. 

In a speech in Washington Monday night, the Pentagon's top military officer said the deteriorating security situation is further limiting Washington's already constrained options to end the violence in the country. 

“Are the options getting better? No, I don’t think so,” the four-star general said. 

“I think they are becoming more complex," he added. 


The rising influence of al Qaeda among Syrian rebels battling forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the two-and-a half year conflict, combined with the influx of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters into the country, is further blurring the already murky alliances that are involved in the conflict. 

Leaders of the Free Syria Army (FSA), the country's largest rebel faction, and top commanders for al Qaeda's Iraqi and Syrian brokered a deal earlier this week to  to come together to battle the growing Iranian presence in the country. 

That pact comes amid news that a 4,000-man force of Hezbollah fighters and members of the Iraqi Shia Mahdi Army on on the ground in Syria, along with an estimated 1,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops sent by Tehran. 

That said, Negotiators from the United States, United Nations and Syria will hold peace talks in December in the latest attempt to end the war. 

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerrySchumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence Trump threatens Iran with increased sanctions after country exceeds uranium enrichment cap The 'invisible primary' has begun MORE reportedly informed French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had gotten all sides to agree to a December start date for the talks, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan. 

Brahimi is expected to officially announce the beginning of the peace talks, to be held in Geneva on Nov. 25, Agence France Presse reported last Wednesday. 

The proposed peace talks are a piece of a larger Syrian disarmament of its chemical weapons stockpiles, brokered by the U.S. and Russia earlier this year. 

But questions still remain on whether Assad will be willing to step down as a result of the planned peace talks. 

However, the Assad regime's willingness to step down from power is still up for debate, and could ultimately scuttle any hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. 

"I think we have to pursue it, we have to continue that dialogue ... [but] Assad isn't interested in cutting a deal," House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Esper officially nominated for Defense secretary | Pentagon silent on Turkey getting Russian missile system | House, Senate headed for clash over defense bill House and Senate head for showdown on must-pass defense bill Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D-Wash.) said last Thursday. 

"It's a chaotic situation and it will be for awhile ... we need to be mindful of our limited ability to force [an] outcome," Smith said in a speech in Washington. 

But Smith and Dempsey have expressed the need for a possible U.S. mission in Syria, to train local forces in the country and keep the conflict from spilling over into neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan. 

Dual suicide bombings on Tuesday in Lebanon, targeting the Iranian embassy in the country, is the latest sign the Syrian conflict is beginning to bleed into other areas across the Mideast. 

"Obviously we have some people in there that we can trust, and we need to work with them," he said during the same speech. 

"This is going to be a projected crisis ... [and] we need friends there," the House lawmaker added. 

But opponents of U.S. intervention argue that U.S. aid and equipment ties to that training mission could end up in the hands of the al Qaeda-affiliated groups that have worked their way into the rebels' ranks. 

Washington has begun directly supplying weapons, consisting mostly of small arms, ammunition and anti-tank weapons, to Syria rebels coordinated by the CIA and limited to vetted portions of the opposition. 

President Obama approved the weapons program back in July, giving Langley the green light to begin arming Syrian rebels from clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan, according to reports at the time.