DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 2, 2015
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has launched a new terror offensive against Iranians and other Shiites. It was kicked off Sunday, Feb. 2 with an attack on a Damascus bus carrying Lebanese Shiite pilgrims. Nine people were killed and at least 20 injured. ISIS has set its sights on the Muslim Shiite heartland, Iran and its cities – especially the capital Tehran. The bus attack aimed to kill a Hizballah military commander traveling in disguise with the pilgrims. His Beirut HQ is keeping his death and identity secret.
Mid-East sources: Israel’s air strikes hit Russian top-line air defense missiles sent to Syria & Hizballah
DEBKAfile Special Report December 7, 2014
Israel’s air strikes near Damascus international airport and the Syrian-Lebanese border Sunday, Dec. 7, are depicted by Middle East sources as Israel’s first overt military clash with Russia in the course of the Syrian war. Those sources assert that the strikes demolished components of Russian SA-25 or other types of top-line anti-air missile systems that Moscow had shipped in for Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah. The raid came less than 24 hours after Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov shook hands with Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 24, 2013
The largest al Qaeda fighting concentration in the world is overrunning Syria, providing Bashar Assad for claiming support for his rule as the only figure capable of stemming the jihadi tide.
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 October 4, 2013
The mainstream Syrian rebel FSA is for the first time willing to discuss local ceasefires in parts of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, with officers of Assad’s army.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 22, 2013
By two comments, Israel confirmed Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 21 and 22, that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons on civilians in the region of Damascus – the first came from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said "The use of chemical weapons by the regime is not a first,” and the second from Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who reported corroborative intelligence. Yet no one anywhere admits that Syria, any more than Iran, has crossed US and Israeli red lines and that this necessitates direct action.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 27, 2013
DEBKAfile Special Report May 5, 2013
Syria's Faisal Mekdad said the strike at Syria overnight Sunday, May 5, represented a "declaration of war" by Israel. Russia Today claimed killed at least 300 members of the Syrian Army’s 501st Unit. debkafile: This unit operates the Mt. Qassioun chemical weapon facility.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 5, 2013
Israeli rockets early Sunday, May 5, struck the Jamraya military research center just north of Damascus, causing powerful explosions. debkafile: The Israeli operation in Syria is ongoing as the Syrian army continues to pass Scud D and Fateh-110 missiles to Hizballah units fighting in Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2013
The Syrian army’s 4th Division-Republican Guard cleared most of the rebels out of the eastern suburbs of Damascus Monday, April 8, debkafile reporst. Bashar Assad’s brother Maher at the head of the 4th Division, executed a surprise pincer movement spearheaded by tank and artillery fire, in time to impede the rebel advance on the center of Damascus and the international airport. This major operation is assumed to have been designed by Assad’s foreign advisers, Iranian or Russian, and averted a chemical attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 5, 2013
The rebel fighters’ newly-acquired antitank guided missiles-ATGM (of both Russian and American manufacture) are knocking over the T-72 tanks of the 4th Republican Guard Division and the 3rd Division, the backbone of the capital’s defenses, while their portable MANPAD air defense systems have brought practically all takeoffs and landings at Damascus International Airport to a standstill.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 12, 2013
Tuesday night, Feb. 12, the Syrian Air Force began bombing the large al-Jarra air base which rebels led by Islamist battalions conquered near the northern city of Aleppo. Bashar Assad ordered his air force to destroy dozens of its own fighter-bombers: L-29 trainer planes, Sukhoi Su-22M bombers and Mig-23 interceptors. Their loss deprives the Syrian ruler of the means to wipe out rebel forces from the air. Had they possessed air crews, the rebels could have used their prize to bomb the presidential palace.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 9, 2013
The Israeli Air Force, deployed densely over Syria’s borders with Israel, Jordan and Lebanon to guard against Assad’s promised payback for the IAF’s air strike against Jamraya on Jan. 30 and block the transfer of Hizballah’s advanced weapons to Lebanon, is also in position as potential game changer in the contest between the Syrian army and rebels. Assad is scheming how to move the weapons without evoking an attack, wherea the rebels plan to provoke an Israel-Syrian clash for an opportunity to ride into Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2013
As Syrian rebels advance on the heart of Damascus, Assad arms the 4th Division with chemical weapons for use if necessary to halt the advance. Al Qaeda has moved shop to Lebanon and is harassing Hizballah with nightly raids.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 14, 2012
Moscow is looking ahead to the post-Assad era and planning to set up permanent military enclaves at Damascus and Aleppo airports.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2012
Assad quickly recovered from the loss of his four top allies last Wednesday, July 18 and replaced them with a new command for fighting the rebels headed by his brother Gen. Maher Assad, debkafile reports exclusively. Gen. Ali Mamloukh is new General Security Service head; Gen. Hafez Makhlouf military commander of Damascus; and Gen. Ali Hassan chief of the Alawite Shabiha militia. Assad retaliated against Turkey by letting Kurdish PKK rebels fighting Turkey from Iraq set up bases in Syria, from which they launched their first attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2012
Bashar Assad didn’t leave Damascus as widely rumored only to another palace furnished with adequate secret tunnels of escape. He also housed his general staff in a fortified complex likewise equipped with secret underground routes to key military installations and escape.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2012
Tehran and Damascus have decided to initiate their war on Israel with terrorism, reserving chemical weapons for use first against the rebels and Jordan. Syria’s rebels have also procured chemical weapons from Libya.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 18, 2012
Four top members of Bashar Assad’s inner circle were killed in Damascus Wednesday, July 18: His brother-in-law Security Chief Assif Shawqat, Defense minister Gen. Dawoud Raijiha, Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim Shaar and Vice-Presidential aide Gen. Hasan Turkmani. debkafile: Their deaths were caused by a hidden bomb in the cabinet conference room – not a suicide bomber as previously reported. Top-level consultations are under way in Washington, Jerusalem and other Mid East capitals to second-guess Assad’s expected reaction
DEBKAfile Special Report July 17, 2012
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.