DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2017
A new-old menace has raised its head: Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliates have launched a fresh wave of terror in Syria. Saturday, March 11, two bomb explosions killed 74 Shiite pilgrims, most Iraqis, at an ancient cemetery in Damascus.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 4, 2015
For the first time in the Syrian war, opposition forces, such as the Army of Conquest and the Free Syrian Army, are receiving substantial quantities of heavy weapons including tanks and antitank missiles, from the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. debkafile:. The opposition is winning battles as the balance of strength shifts away from the Syrian army. At the same time, since most of these rebel militias are associated with al Qaeda, Assad’s fall could consign Syria to radical Islamist rule.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 28, 2014
The battle for Quneitra has no real military importance for the Syrian conflict at large, says debkafile. The Syrian army, helped by Iran and Hizballah, is winning and the rebel side crumbling. However, integrated in the rebel contingents fighting for Quneitra, with US, Israeli and Jordanian backing, are Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front fighters and its Sinai arm, Ansar Beit Al-Madis, which works hand in glove with Israel’s foe, the Palestinian Hamas. When a black Al Qaeda flag flies over Quneitra 200 m from its Golan border, Israel will face a new dilemma.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 11, 2014
After occupying the northern Iraqi oil town of Mosul, Al Qaeda’s ISIS (Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant) went on to seize more slices of Nineveh province. By Wednesday, June 11, they were in control of around 38,000 sq. km. or one-tenth of Iraqi territory and 3.5 million inhabitants. They also took over the main Iraq-Syrian crossing at Yaaroubiyeh. The Islamists rode out of Mosul Tuesday with 260 new armored vehicles of various types – enough to arm a full division – and put half a million refugees to flight.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 9, 2014
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s cryptic remark Monday, June 6 that “The Israeli Air Force will next month dramatically change its mode of operation,” meant that a decision has been taken to start directing the IAF’s fire power against 50,000 al Qaeda fighters, whom he calculates are forgathering in the Syrian and Iraqi arenas north of Israel. Gen. Gantz was referring not just to warplanes, but also Israel’s long-range unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters. For this kind of warfare, he said, the air force requires a different kind of intelligence support.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 14, 2014
The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah, itself a listed terrorist group, was forced Thursday, Feb. 13 to cancel its most solemn annual event in memory of fabled “special security chief” Imad Mughniyeh for fear of terrorist attack. Hassan Nasrallah traditionally addresses these events. debkafile’s counter-terror sources report that al Qaeda and Sunni extremists have since last July carried out 10 suicide bombings, claiming scores of lives in Beirut and across Lebanon. Security is doubled up for Nasrallah and other top operatives on a tip that they are gunning for them in person.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 31, 2014
Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi revealed the locations of three new al Qaeda training bases in Turkey and their proximity to S. Europe with unusual precision, as an illustration for the Obama administration of the deleterious impact of the US détente with Iran on the Middle East and fellow-NATO members. Iran, which is in the process of forging a new alliance with Turkey, also has a history of hosting al Qaeda and then setting its terrorists loose to strike targets designated by Tehran, like Saudi Arabia.
Israeli officer: With 30,000 Al Qaeda fighters in Syria, Israel re-evaluates its neutrality in civil war
DEBKAfile Special Report January 25, 2014
In a special briefing to foreign correspondents Friday, Jan. 24, a high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer reported that Israel is discussing rethinking its strategy of neutrality in the Syrian civil war following the buildup of more than 30,000 al Qaeda-linked fighters there. Many are massed closed to its borders and openly threaten to turn their sights on Israel after toppling Assad. debkafile: To fight this terrorist army, the IDF would have to study US combat tactics in Afghanistan, rewrite its war doctrine and build large commando units for protracted warfare.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 1, 2014
A tip-off by Western intelligence agencies in Syria led to the Lebanese arrest of Majid al-Majid, the Saudi leader of the al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. This group has been held responsible for bomb attacks on the Iranian embassy in Beirut and Hizballah strongholds, as well as rocket attacks on northern Israel. debkafile: Al Majid was arrested in Beirut on Dec. 30, on returning from Syria where he signed a cooperation pact providing the Nusra Front with logistical facilities at Abdullah Azzam stronghold in S. Lebanon near the Israeli border.
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 Exclusive Report December 8, 2013
Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov announced Monday, Dec. 4, the formation of a special unit to deal with “Syrian radicals” wiithin the North Caucasus republic and abroad. “Members…will be ready to interfere in the Syrian conflict if authorized by the Russian president.” Russian and Syrian intelligence fear al Qaeda in Syria is plotting a spectacular attack on the Sochi Winter Olympics in February, possibly using sarin, which US intelligence thinks al Qaeda has obtained. This was a prominent item in talks between Binyamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin in Moscow Nov. 20.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 20, 2013
Some Syrian rebel chiefs controlling Damascus outskirts are clinching private ceasefire deals with local government army officers, a trend spreading to other cities. debkafile: These local deals are evolving into joint patrols of rebel-held districts. This trend offers the prospect of wide areas seized by the rebels reverting to government control without a fight and the two camps joining forces to combat the spreading encroachments of Al Qaeda. Assad hopes he will start looking better in Washington and ease the pressure over the chemicals issue.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 3, 2013
In fierce battles with Syrian troops, Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra front is spearheading the rebels’ advance on two Syrian army chemical weapons depots - at the Al-Safira base in the north and the Dumeir facility 40 km northeast of Damascus. Tuesday, April 2, Israel’s top security officials were on the Golan to inspect the IDF Golan border units’ state of readiness. On his first visit to the territory as defense minister, Moshe Yaalon said Israel would prevent the proliferation of weapons that “could threaten us.”
DEBKAfile Special Report March 30, 2013
The West has initiated an arms embargo against the Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad since discovering that some of the weapons are being resold to al Qaeda for its conquest of southern Syrian and takeover of positions on the Jordanian and Israel borders and Yarmuk River. This policy reversal was disclosed by French President Francois Hollande Friday, March 29. debkafile: Alarm over the Nusra Front’s territorial gains now tops concerns over chemical warfare in the deliberations of the joint US-Israeli, US-Jordanian and US-Turkish command centers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 25, 2013
The Al Musanna Brigade of al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, captured the highly strategic intersection of the Syrian, Israeli and Jordan borders, just east of the Golan, on Passover Eve, Monday, March 25, debkafile reports exclusively. The jihadists have also seized Wadi ar-Raqqad which marks the Golan’s eastern boundary and is one of Israel’s water sources. Next door, Iraqi Al Qaeda is preparing to push trucks loaded with Chlorine gas-CI trucks into Syria for the jihadists to use against Assad’s forces.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 11, 2013
debkafile reports hundreds of UN Disengagement and Observers Force (UNDOF) soldiers - Indian, Austrian and Filipino - in trucks and APCs in full flight from the Syrian side of Golan into Israel early Monday, March 11. They were urged to leave by their commanders, who said “We can no longer vouch for your safety.” Syrian rebel Islamists are feared vying with Hizballah to seize control of the abandoned 8-sq.km Syrian-Israel separation zone while the IDF is massing reinforcements to keep them out.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 8, 2013
A new US-led contingency headquarters for joint US, Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish operations inside Syria will go into action if any or all these allies should come under chemical or biological attack. This was the upshot of the talks US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held with visiting Israeli defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 5. Hagel forecast imminent chemical warfare that would be kicked off by Al Qaeda-linked militias to further their territorial expansion plans and quickly spill over Syria's borders..
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2013
John Kerry begins his stint as US Secretary of State with the recognition that there is only one way to prevent Islamist groups from taking over the Syrian rebel movement while also preserving US influence in the rebel camp: and that is by working with the Russian plan for Syria. debkafile reveals that this plan is based on drawing armistice lines for dividing Syria up into sectors controlled variously by Syrian opposition groups and Assad loyalists. Russia and America will jointly oversee those sectors.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 19, 2013
Bashar Assad has evacuated most of the troops of his 5th Army Division from their permanent bases on the Golan opposite Israeli forces and transferred them along with their artillery to Damascus, debkafile’s military sources report. This step was intended by Assad to reinforce the defense of his capital, while at the same time providing the al Qaeda-linked fighters in rebel ranks direct access to the Israel border. In no time, the jihadists are expected to turn their guns and missiles on Israel.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 22, 2012
The Syrian chemical warfare threat took an epic turn Saturday, Dec. 22 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement that “Syria has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations… and they are under control.” Russian military advisers training Syria’s military,” he said, “have kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.” debkafile: This was Moscow’s assurance to Washington that Russia had taken care of the danger of Syria’s WMD falling into Islamist terrorist hands, which came close Friday with the rebel assault on al-Safira.