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Syria memo shakes up Washington but unlikely to shift policy

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad waves before addressing the newly-elected parliament in Damascus, Syria.

The dissent document was transmitted internally in a confidential form and since has been classified, said officials who weren't authorized to discuss such material and insisted on anonymity.

Again, according to The New York Times, the memo also recommended the United States administration employ "a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process".

The "dissent channel cable" was signed by 51 officials involved with advising on Syria policy in various capacities.

Since a year ago, American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria while supporting different sides in the civil war.

He said he had not seen the memo. Russian airstrikes have been aimed at American-backed rebels instead of the Assad regime.

Top level State Department officials in their dissent say Obama must place far more emphasis on bringing down the Assad regime in order to break the will of jihadists, ISIS and the Assad regime. Last week he vowed to return "every inch" of Syrian territory to his control.

There were more barrel bombs in rebel areas of Aleppo on Thursday.

"That's the kind of thing", he adds, "that has caused this outrage".

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In what other officials called an attempt to limit any damage to Mr Obama's policies, one senior USA official stressed that it is only natural that "on a subject as complex and complicated as Syria that we have a diversity of views".

One of the issues that first prompted use of the channel was the Bangladesh War of Independence to break away from Pakistan. Washington has no diplomatic presence inside the country today.

The internal memo was sent throughout the "dissent channel", a mechanism for State Department officials to offer alternative views on foreign policy without freedom of retaliation or retaliation. The strikes would be launched from "stand-off" weaponry like bombers and naval vessels but would not entail the deployment of U.S. troops. No Russia or Russian-backed Syrian ground forces were in the area at the time. "And if that was their intention, that's the opposite of what they said they were going to do", Carter said.

"It's an egregious act that must be explained", a US official said. But they stated they are not "advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russian Federation".

Aides also have acknowledged privately that even if Obama did decide to take a more aggressive stance, that would be much riskier now that Russian forces are directly supporting their ally Assad and bombing anti-government rebels.

Almost 300,000 people have been killed in the four-year conflict, which has contributed to the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

"The administration welcomes a strong deliberation on the foreign policy challenges that face our nation", White House spokeswoman Jen Friedman told reporters traveling to New Mexico with President Obama on Air Force One Friday.

Robert Ford served as U.S. Ambassador to Syria until 2014.

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