Syria and its allies came closer than ever to taking Aleppo on Friday, Dec. 2, when they captured the Tariq al-Bab district to gain control of 60 percent of the rebel-held eastern part of the city. Drawing on the lessons of their success, the winning forces have begun building a military outfit modeled on the format of the victorious coalition. It is designated the “Fifth Corps” of the Syrian army, but DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources can identity the new unit as the framework for an international Shiite brigade or foreign legion.More>
Retired Marine General James Mattis, 66, whom President-elect Donald Trump has picked as his secretary of defense, is famous for his rough-and-tough stance toward America’s adversaries. From 2010 to 2013, Gen. Mattis was head of the Central Command, replacing Gen. David Petraeus (now one of the candidates for secretary of state). He earned the “Mad Dog Mattis” handle as a battlefield commander in Iraq when he said: “If you f-k with me, I’ll kill you all.”More>
Arab media described Israeli warplanes attacking targets in and around Damascus overnight Tuesday, Nov. 29, as firing “four long-range Popeye” missiles from Lebanese air space on a Syrian army compound in Damascus and a Hizballah arms convoy on the highway to Beirut. If confirmed, this action will have repercussions, since it heralded the breakdown of initial Trump-Putin understandings for Syria and Israel's decision to go it alone..More>
Libyan Gen Khalifa Hafter arrived in Moscow Sunday, Nov. 26, with a request for Russian arms and military support for his army. He was welcomed in Moscow, which saw an opening for Russia to gain its first military base in North Africa, 700km from Europe. DEBKAfile: President Vladimir Putin began to envision a second Mediterranean base on the coast of Benghazi, twin to Hmeimim in Syria’s Latakia.More>
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi’s secret decision to intervene militarily in the Syrian war on the side of the Syrian President Bashar Assad is revealed here by debkafile’s military and intelligence sources. According to one version, a group of Egyptian helicopter pilots – 18, according to one estimate - landed secretly a few days ago at the Syrian Air Force base in Hama and were pressed at once into service for strikes against Syrian rebel forces.
Unlike most US president elects, Donald Trump is not waiting to be formally sworn into office on Jan. 20. debkafile’s exclusive sources reveal that he has already plunged unannounced into managing America’s military role in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. For more details, subscribe here to DEBKA Weekly.
Hizballah this week transferred two brigades of some 5,000 fighters to the Aleppo front to bolster the Assad regime’s concentrated push to finally rout the rebels who have been holding out year after year in the eastern half of the ravaged city.More...
debkafile: The proportions of the Nov. 15 Russian operation against terrorist targets in Syria better fit the description of low key than “large scale.” No more than 2 Sukhoi Su-33 fighters lifted off the carrier’s decks.
Half a dozen long convoys of trucks carrying US arms, hurriedly put together by US military headquarters in Baghdad, have crossed the border in the last three days on their way to the Syrian Kurdish PYD-YPG militia,
As Medvedev visited the Western Wall in support of Israel’s rights in Jerusalem, a mighty Russian fleet was preparing to deliver a crushing blow to Syrian rebel groups holding out in Aleppo - that is until Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, taking Putin by surprise.