Syria’s refugee crisis in the north is now repeating itself in the south, with tens of thousands of destitute women, children and elderly people fleeing their homes – not this time from beleaguered Aleppo to the Turkish border, but from the southern region of Daraa towards the Jordanian and Israeli borders. DEBKAfile: Some 50,000 refugees are heading for the border of Jordan and another 20,000 for Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border.More>
Few Israelis, including the people who wake up at night to the clatter of Gaza Palestinians digging tunnels, have never heard of Mohammed Al-Emadi. But his importance cannot be overestimated, because, as DEBKAfile reveals here, he is the Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar’s de facto ambassador to the Gaza Strip and to Israel. He is moreover Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s secret weapon against Hamas’s terror tunnels.More>
The five-year old Syrian civil war faces its most critical moment.Saturday, Feb. 6, a combined force of Syrian army and Hizballah troops and an Iraqi Shiite militia under Iranian officers, were led by Russian air and Spetsnaz (special forces) officers into pressing forward to encircle 35,000 rebels trapped in Aleppo, putting tens of thousands of refugees to flight.More>
Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s foreign affairs advisor, spent three days in Moscow Feb. 1-4 haranguing Russian leaders - not just on their handling of the Syrian war, but also the fate of President Bashar Assad. In his two conversations with President Vladimir Putin, Velayati demanded more inclusive Russian attacks on Syrian rebels. Putin shot back that Iran should send its own troops into the fray – not just generals.More>
The Russians and Americans are pouring air and ground troops into Syria to underpin their strategy for ending the Syrian war. Russian heavy bombers are flying direct from home base to strengthen the Syrian army in its drive against rebels and jihadis.More...
The mystery of how Hizballah managed to plant the bomb which blew up against an IDF patrol, without causing casualties, Tuesday, Jan. 5, in the Shebaa Farms district of Mt Hermon is perplexing Israel’s military chiefs. It brought Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan (former OC Northern Command) and his successor Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi to the Golan the next day, to find out how Hizballah outsmarted careful IDF preparations and a hi-tech “electronically sterile area” abutting an electronic border fence.More...
US President Barack Obama is finally willing to scrap his longstanding principle of “no US boots on the ground” for a major new campaign with allies to cut down Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State’s grip on a strategic arena outside Iraq and Syria. The latest DEBKA Weekly out Friday divulges its location, the makeup of the new US-led coalition, the war plan’s timeline and other details, as well as its geographic targets. It is still available.
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Russia is determined to bomb Syrian rebels into submission by a massive aerial campaign, comparable to the American 2003 “shock and awe” offensive over Baghdad. Only this time, it is Russia which is invading Syria. Tuesday, Feb. 2, saw a wave of air strikes, for which heavy Tupolev Tu-22M strategic bombers flew in from their base in Russia. President Vladimir is not deterred by the hundreds of civilian casualties caused in these raids, nor by rebel groups’ threat to walk out of the Geneva conference because he knows Barack Obama is behind him.
The Syrian peace conference in Geneva has only one real task: to rubberstamp the quiet deals Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have struck for ending the Syrian war. Their pact was first revealed in last week’s DEBKA Weekly. The current issue out this Friday has the sequel, which exclusively covers Putin’s next steps. He is already studying a short list of candidates as Bashar Assad's successor. This issue also reveals US-Russian plans for eradicating ISIS by the targeted date of July 1.
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Israel’s leaders are clinging to lame locutions – “good judgment and responsibility” - to avoid military action for dealing with the crisis situations fast coming to a head on three extremely dangerous fronts: armed Palestinian terrorists are now tying up traffic on a major highway to the Israeli capital; southern Syria is sliding into the control of Hizballah after this Iranian proxy was permitted to amass 100,000 missiles in S. Lebanon; and, this week, Israelis living near the Gaza Strip could hear Palestinians building terror tunnels under their homes.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27 a large Hizballah force entered the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a critically dangerous event for Israel’s security. The way to the town, which lies near the Jordanian border and across from the Israeli Golan, was opened before Hizballah by none other than Russian forces. This was a blatant violation of President Vladimir Putin’s commitments to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah, not to permit Iranian and Iran-backed forces reach their borders in consequence of Russia’s military intervention in the Syria war.