Syria

Panetta: Keep Syria's Military Intact After Assad's Ouster

U.S. defense secretary warns against repeating Iraq mistake of dismantling security forces.

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Government forces in Syria should be held together when President Bashar al-Assad is forced from power, the U.S. defense secretary said on Monday, warning that the mistakes of the Iraq war must not be repeated.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with CNN during a visit to Tunisia, said maintaining stability in Syria would be important under any scenario that sees Assad leave power.

"I think it's important when Assad leaves, and he will leave, to try to preserve stability in that country," Panetta said.

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