DEBKAfile Special Report May 28, 2016
The US has deployed about 7,500 US soldiers in Iraq and Syria, with an additional 2,000-3,000 fighters working for private security contractors. Washington has sent an additional 1,000 to 1,250 soldiers to Libya. US planes are taking off from Incirlilk base in South Turkey 350km from Raqqa, the ISIS Syrian capital, and 700km from Mosul in Iraq. But ISIS is in no danger of being degraded at this point.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 27, 2015
Syrian President Bashar Assad, in his first public speech in a year, Sunday, July 26, could afford to admit to loss of territory, after being handed Iran’s new rehabilitation plan for his army, debkafile reveals. Divisions and brigades are rebuilt into three armored commando super-divisions, one each for the northern, southern and Damascus fronts. The 4th Division would still defend Damascus. The 14th Division of Special Forces gets fresh officers under Iranian commanders. The US-Tehran nuclear accord effectively brings an Iranian military presence ever closer to the borders of Israel and Jordan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 9, 2015
The battle for Qalamoun has suddenly become a critical regional contest for the Iran-Syrian-Hizballah alliance at large and its three prime movers, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Hizballah leader Hassan Nastrallah, and Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Al Qods Brigades. The Obama administration has launched a new plan to drive a wedge in the Revolutionary Guards leadership by elevating its leader Gen. Jaafari to the regime’s “good guy” and denouncing Gen. Soleimani as the “bad guy" - hoping that degrading him causes Iran to pull in its horns in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2014
The Syrian rebel Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained in Jordan for two years by US officers and supported by the Israeli army, has abruptly dumped them and switched to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, debkafile’s exclusive sources reveal. This sudden defection leaves IDF defense formations on the Golan, US and Jordanian deployments in the northern part of the kingdom, and pro-Western rebel conquests in southern Syria in danger of collapse. ISIS gains direct access to a long section of Israel’s Golan border with Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 10, 2014
Shortly before President Barack Obama was to unveil his strategy for tackling ISIS in Iraq and Syria Wednesday, Sept. 10, US and Syrian officers held secret talks for coordinating their military efforts in Syria against the common foe, debkafile reveals exclusively. The Syrian officers, on the authority of President Bashar Assad, met on the quiet several times with American officers in the capital of one of the Gulf emirates – probably Muscat in Oman. The Syrian side of the US campaign is judged to be more complicated than the operation in Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 15, 2014
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Israel Wednesday May 14 for talks with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon from an inspection of the US-Jordanian underground command center located 10 kilometers north of Amman, debkafile reports. It was the first visit by a high-ranking US official to a US military facility directly involved in the Syrian war. His talks in Jordan and Israel will determine whether the US-backed rebel forces engaged in battle for control of the Golan town of Quneitra, open a new southern front against Bashar Assad and threaten Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 13, 2014
Nine Syrian rebel militias are advancing on the main Syrian Golan town of Quneitra (pop: 20,000) to wrest from the Syrian army its last Golan foothold with access to the Israeli border. The first objective of their Operation “Levant of the Prophet” is to seize the Quneitra-Ein Zivan crossing, before targeting Quneitra the town. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who visited the Golan Tuesday, May 13, said, “Syrian rebels have pushed Assad’s military into a corner.” debkafile: Quneitra’s fall would free the Golan and S. Syria of the presence of Assad’s army and Hizballah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2014
Two Syrian rebel militias judged moderate in Washington have in the last few days taken delivery and begun using the first advanced US weapon to be deployed in more than three years of civil war, debkafile reveals. It is the heavy anti-tank, optically-tracked, wire-guided BGM-71 TOW.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 15, 2013
The Obama administration is again doubling back on its Syrian war policy. On Dec. 11, the Saudi-backed Islamic Front rebels inflicted a disastrous defeat on the pro-American Free Syrian Army in northern Syria. debkafile reports that Washington reacted by launching a secret approach to win over the Islamic Front, the most powerful force now battling the Assad regime. Voices in Washington are urging the White House to start talking to Bashar Assad, leading the administration to consider forming a Syrian lineup to save the country from falling to Al Qaeda.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 11, 2013
The suspension of US-UK non-lethal military aid to the Syrian opposition in the north – ostensibly to keep it out of Islamist hands – is only part of the story. The aid will be put in the hands of the pro-American rebel forces deployed to man a new security zone the two powers are carving out in the south, as a barrier against al Qaeda’s encroachments on the Jordanian, Israeli, and Lebanese borders, as well as Damascus. Two war rooms in Irbid, Jordan will run the operation under a US general.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 9, 2013
Bashar Assad’s army achieved a signal strategic breakthrough Sunday, Dec. 8, by its conquest of Nabuk in the Qalamoun Mountains. The rebel forces have been thrown into disarray, leaving only Jabhat al Nusra and the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda fit to fight Assad. Syrian rebels have therefore found Washington turning a cold shoulder and developing indirect contacts with pro-Assad army elements and, through British diplomats, Hizballah. On the Syrian uprising’s 1,000th day, the same US-Russian-Iranian coalition which fixed the Geneva nuclear accord is moving into position for a Syrian solution.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 30, 2013
Senior Israeli intelligence sources insisted to debkafile Thursday May 30 that Syria had still not received any Russian S-300 anti-missile batteries – contrary to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s claim that the first batch had arrived. Israel says it will destroy them before they are operational.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 10, 2013
The Obama administration’s slowcoach policy on Syria has given Iran and Hizballah unfettered access to intervene in the Syrian civil war, magnifying its lethality and prospects of its spilling over into Israel, Turkey and Jordan, says debkafile. It will further deteriorate when Washington’s expectations of an international conference are not recprocated by Moscow.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 7, 2013
Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, faced a sharp dressing-down from President Vladimir Putin Monday, May 6 and a warning that further Israeli attacks on Damascus would not be tolerated. Putin said highly advanced Russian weapons, including S-300 air defense systems, would be supplied at speed to Syria.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 13, 2012
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 April 22, 2012
Beijing has distanced itself from the Assad regime, according to a secret exchange of messages with the Obama administration, revealed here exclusively by debkafile. China will no longer be a problem for America in dealing with Assad. That leaves only Russia, said the last message. Washington counts this change as a return on its nuclear appeasement of Tehran. The Chinese decided to accommodate US policy on Syria now that the loosening of the embargo on Iranian oil is in sight. Assad has started selling off gold reserves in Dubai.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 26, 2012
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal marched out of the Friends of Syria conference in Tunis Friday, Feb. 24, after representatives of 70 nations fell in behind US plans designed to avoid direct action against Syria’s Bashar Assad. Riyadh accuses Washington of reducing Assad’s butchery of his opponents to the level of a humanitarian issue to save his regime and keep Iran on track for nuclear negotiations. The “safe haven” plan is seen as giving the Syrian ruler international immunity.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 23, 2010
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 7, 2007
debkafile's military experts conclude from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before.
The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion.
The Israeli plane or planes were described by a Syrian military spokesman as "forced to leave by Syrian air defense fire after dropping ammunition over deserted areas without causing casualties." He warned "the Israeli enemy against repeating its aggressive action" and said his government reserved the right to respond in an appropriate manner.
Western intelligence circles stress that information on Russian missile consignments to Syria or Iran is vital to any US calculation of whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program. They assume that the "absolute jamming immunity" which the Russian manufactures promised for the improved Pantsyr missiles was immobilized by superior electronic capabilities exercised by the jets before they were "forced to leave."
Syria took delivery in mid-August of 10 batteries of sophisticated Russian Pantsyr-S1E Air Defense Missile fire control systems with advanced radar, those sources report. They have just been installed in Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2005
The threat of military action was embedded in the UN Security Council resolution. It was reinforced by US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice when she spoke of "serious' consequences" - diplomatic parlance for military action - should Syria fail to cooperate with the final and conclusive part of UN investigator Dehlev Mehlis' inquiry into the murder of Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri last February.
Faced with this torrent of menacing language, Bashar Assad's close associates have already decided that escape is the better part of valor. Influential Syrian VIPs appear to have read the UN resolution carefully last week and are absconding. debkafile's intelligence sources reveal large cash withdrawals from Syrian banks, currency conversions and transfers to banks outside the country.
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