DEBKAfile Special Report July 17, 2012, 7:58 AM (GMT+02:00)
Bashar Assad has gathered in his army to defend Damascus, concentrating armored vehicles in the center. Six srengthened Shabiha battalions have cut off the roads to the center from the two southern suburbs of Meidan and Tadmon seized by the rebels Monday, July 16, and are trying the pound them into extinction. The Syrian general staff prepared for the last battle for Damascus by relocating its command headquarters to a well-fortified complex on Shuhada Street in the capital’s center.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 15, 2012, 10:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
Several high-placed generals Sunday, July 17 bolted Bashar Assad’s inner circle to Turkey, including such key figures as two security services chiefs who were operations commanders of the Alawite Shabiha militia plus the former head of Syria’s chemical and biological administration who took six other generals with him, debkafile reports exclusively. Another senior general was assassinated in Aleppo. Assad also received a last warning not to move his chemical weapons again or else they would be destroyed from the air.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 13, 2012, 10:36 AM (GMT+02:00)
Syria Thursday, July 12, test-fired advanced Scud D missiles capable of carrying chemical weapons and nerve gas and “hitting targets deep within enemy territory” as part of its war exercise. In Washington, US officials disclosed that Bashar Assad had moved parts of his huge arsenal of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide out of storage. One warned of “the precedent of WMD being used under our watch,” calling it “incredibly dangerous to our national security."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 12, 2012, 11:55 PM (GMT+02:00)
After a secret US-Russian deal on Syria fell apart, Moscow began maneuvering to keep Bashar on as a figurehead president while preserving the army and security establishment intact and in power.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 8, 2012, 12:26 PM (GMT+02:00)
“There is still a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria, but to the region,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tokyo, Sunday, July 8. “… the opposition is getting more effective… and going on the offensive against the Syrian military.” debkafile: In desperation, the Assad regime may open up its WMD arsenals against the rebel advance and spread the flames to other parts of the region, including Israel. Hence her references to catastrophe and the region.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 6, 2012, 6:29 PM (GMT+02:00)
In 17 months of brutal operations, the Syrian army has lost 8,763 dead and 21,357 wounded soldiers, 600 tanks and APCs, and a stream of high-ranking defectors. Yet neither Bashar Assad nor his ruling family appears to falter or fear failure. Why? Because Assad has purged the top command of veteran commanders and installed loyal Alawites in their stead. How does the desertion of Brig.-Gen. Manaf Tlass, 105th Brigade commander of the Republic Guard and member of a prominent Sunni clan, fit into this picture?
DEBKAfile Special Report July 5, 2012, 1:21 PM (GMT+02:00)
Moscow has removed the gloves in its defense of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Wednesday, July 4, senior Russian official Ruslan Pukhov warned: “If the Syrian regime is changed by force or if Russia doesn't like the outcome, it most likely will respond by selling S-300s to Iran." This threat gave substance to the hints thrown out by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his June 25 visit to Israel about breaking the UN arms embargo against Iran. debkafile’s military sources disclose that Israel has developed counter-measures for this advanced Russian missile.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 2, 2012, 10:05 AM (GMT+02:00)
In a phone call to the Kremlin Sunday, July 1, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he needed just two months to finish off the revolt against his regime. “My new military tactics are working,” he said, as his regime and the Syrian opposition rejected the UN-sponsored peace plan approved in Geneva Saturday. debkafile also reports exclusively that Assad’s "new tactics" consist of retiring the top army command and replacing it with Shabiha thugs armed with an unheard-of level of fire power. Syrian-Turkish border tension continues to climb.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 30, 2012, 10:33 PM (GMT+02:00)
Agreement on a Syria-led transition based on mutual consent that includes members of the current government” was reported by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan from the Action Group on Syria meeting in Geneva Saturday, June 30. He avoided mentioning Bashar Assad, but was not able to conceal the gap between Washington and Moscow over the Syrian ruler’s fate: The US still wants him gone, while Russia is still adamant about propping him up. That is the devil in the Annan peace effort.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 30, 2012, 10:30 AM (GMT+02:00)
Aviation Week reports: “Evidence is mounting that the US defense community and the Obama administration view 2013 as the likely window for a bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear and missile facilities.” The chaos of the Syrian government’s fall could be used “to disguise such an attack,” the journal suggests. “The tools…are all operational.” Friday night, top US and Russian diplomats failed to bridge differences on Syria ahead of a UN-sponsored Action Group parley in Geneva. Military preparations are building up for an attack on Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2012, 11:13 AM (GMT+02:00)
debkafile, citing Western intelligence sources, reports Thursday, June 28, that the Republican Guard battalion commander charged with the Syrian president’s security has kept Bashar Assad and his family shut away in his palace in what they call “partial siege" since last week. This officer decides whether they can come or go. It is not clear to whom he defers. “"Inside the palace, Assad and his family have become fearful enough to import tasters to check all the food and drink served them,” the sources say.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2012, 11:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Unconfirmed first reports from British, French and Turkish sources say British special forces crossed from Turkey into northern Syria Tuesday, May 26, advancing up to 10 kilometers inside the country. Those sources also report heavy fighting around the Republican Guards compound guarding Bashar Assad's palace on Mount Qaisoun overlooking Damascus. This two-pronged assault on the Assad regime, if confirmed, began at the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel. It challenges his repeated objections to foreign intervention.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 21, 2012, 11:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
Syrian President Bashar Assad Thursday night, June 21, ordered his entire Air Force fleet of fighter bombers grounded to guard against more defections. Syrian officials are sure that the defection of Col. Hasan Merhi al-Hamadeh, who flew to Jordan aboard a MiG-21, was set up by the CIA - with more to come, to show the Syrian people and Arab world that even the Syrian air force, the part of the armed forces most loyal to Assad, was in fact slipping away from him.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 21, 2012, 11:11 PM (GMT+02:00)
The US has confirmed the supply of weapons to the Syrian rebels and the presence of CIA officers controlling the flow from Turkey. However plans for persuading Bashar Assad to quit run hard up against his gains on the battlefield where the rebels, despite broad backing, are losing ground.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 15, 2012, 12:00 AM (GMT+02:00)
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 11, 2012, 9:29 AM (GMT+02:00)
The US President Barack Obama has ordered the US Navy and Air Force to accelerate preparations for a limited air offensive against the Assad regime and the imposition of no-fly zones over Syria - depending on Moscow's reaction.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 8, 2012, 12:31 AM (GMT+02:00)
A new contact group, a Syrian military council for provisional rule under the group’s orders, and Russian-Iranian moves to make Assad step down – these are the key points of Obama’s plan for Syria, part of his grand design that also embraces Iran and its nuclear program.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 3, 2012, 10:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
As Syrian ruler Bashar Assad stood before parliament in Damascus Sunday, June 3, declaring, “Not even monsters could have carried out the Houla massacre,” rebels attacked a Syrian Air Force base east of the southern town of Deraa opposite the Israeli Golan border – their first such attack in the 14-month uprising, debkafile’s military sources report. Several rebel teams firing mortars set fire to fighter aircraft and assault helicopters in their hangars at the As Suwayda air base and ripped up runways.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 1, 2012, 12:58 AM (GMT+02:00)
Obama focuses on obtaining Vladmir Putin’s consent to deploying 5,000 largely Russian monitors in Syria in order to gain a partner also for his Iran nuclear diplomacy. HIzballah risks being cut off from its heavy weapons arsenal hidden in Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 30, 2012, 1:07 PM (GMT+02:00)
US President Obama recently vetoed a detailed Franco-Saudi plan for ending President Bashar Assad’s rule by means of a massive air strike against his palace that would wipe him, his family and top leadership circle out, debkafile reports. French warplanes from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off Syria and Saudi and United Arab Emirates bombers flying in through Jordan would devastate the palace atop Mount Qassioun northeast of Damascus. The US was asked to pitch in by disrupting Syrian air defenses.