DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 18, 2017
Russian army units are preparing to move into the Syrian town of Quneitra in the coming days and take up positions opposite the Syrian-Israeli Golan border, debkafile reports exclusively. Their function is to police in the second zone of southwestern Syria designated for a ceasefire by Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin when they met in Hamburg on July 7.Quneitra is just 5km from Israel’s border and the line of IDF positions defending it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 12, 2016
In a supreme effort to prevent ISIS suicide units from reaching Russia from Syria, Sergei Shoigu, Russia's Defense Minister, has promoted the Russian commander in Syria, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov to an expanded command as head of the South Russia military district which covers the Black and Caspian Seas, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia as well as Syria..
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 7, 2015
The world’s largest submarine, the Dmitri Donskoy (TK-208), Nato-coded Typhoon, is sailing towards Syria, debkafile reports exclusively. Aboard are 20 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, each carrying 6-10 MIRV nuclear warheads. The Russian sub, escorted by two anti-sub warfare ships, is due to arrive in Syrian waters in 10 days time and so top up the new Russian military deployment in Syria. The coming DEBKA Weekly reveals Moscow’s operational planning for this mighty force and its potential impact on US Middle East policy – and Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 1, 2015
All of the steps being taken by Russia to lay the groundwork for the intervention of its ground forces in the Syrian civil war are being carried out in coordination with the US and Iran. As their coordination tightens, so are the preparations for the first direct big-power military intervention in the Syrian war picking up speed. Those preparations were further accelerated by the ISIS advance on Aug. 31 closer to central Damascus than any anti-Assad group has ever achieved. Moscow is not ready to allow Bashar Assad’s rule to be endangered.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 31, 2014
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Sunday March 30 instructed Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, to set out at once from Washington to Brussels for consultations with alliance commanders on a possible Russian invasion of Moldova’s Russian-speaking breakaway enclave of Transnistria, after Crimea. Chairs of both US House and Senate Intelligence Committees report Russian forces massed on Ukrainian borders, as well as covert forces inside the country. Some reports claim a Russian buildup in South Ossetia too for a possible thrust into Armenia.
Russia launches paratroop exercise east of Ukraine. Moscow tycoons move assets from West to Far East
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 11, 2014
The clash between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis is heating up militarily, economically and verbally in the countdown to the Crimean referendum on secession on Sunday March 16. Tuesday, March 11, Russia launched its biggest military exercise in 20 years. It encompasses command elements, rapid deployment forces and paratroops and takes place in western Russia not far from the Ukraine border. As the West started working on sanctions, debkafile reports that tycoons close to President Putin shifted assets to the Far East two months ago.
Putin: Not Russian - but local forces took control of Crimea. DEBKAfile: They are Russian special forces
DEBKAfile Special Report March 4, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing reporters for the first time Tuesday, March 4, denied that Russian forces had taken control of the Crimean Peninsula – but self-defense locals in Russian uniforms. debkafile’s military sources challenge this, having identified the units as Russia’s Rapid Intervention Brigade 22 based in Rostov on-Don, southern Russia, and the 25th Regiment of Special Forces-Stavropol. Putin also said Viktor Yanukovych was removed by an anti-constitutional coup d’etat and remains Ukraine’s only legitimate president, but he showed no inclination to restore him to power.
Moscow will halt military steps in Ukraine – only after a US guarantee not to post missile shield there
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 3, 2014
As Washington and the Europeans continued to decry Russian military aggression, the US and Russians quietly began intense negotiations - through Berlin - on a deal for settling the Ukraine dispute, debkafile reports. Moscow will keep its military forces in Crimea, but discuss terms for restraining the Russian army from advancing into the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine: Kiev must stay out of NATO, the US must guarantee not to deploy advanced radar, missile shields or ballistic missiles in the country, and local armed bodies will protect Russian-speaking areas.
Ukraine calls up reserves against Russia. Putin spurns Obama’s call to de-escalate with fallout on Mid East
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 2, 2014
The US-EU tactic of turning the heat on Moscow instead of Kiev is proving futile and a strategic blunder stemming from weakness, more likely to spark real violence and bloodshed. US President Barack Obama’s call to Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the tension and pull his troops out of Crimea went unheeded. So Kiev mobilized a million military reservists and put the Ukraine army on a war footing, without the resources for feeding or arming them. Putin was encouraged to forge ahead with his plans until the interim government falls – or talks.
DEBKAfile Special Report March 1, 2014
Russian forces Saturday, March 1, staged their first attack on a Ukraine military installation in Crimea, while completing their takeover of the region and its severance from Ukraine. The new Crimean premier announced a March 30 referendum to determine its status. In Kiev, the interim government feared a possible Ukraine army putsch to install a military regime capable of containing Russian expansion. As President Barack Obama warned Moscow of “costs” for military intervention in Crimea, two US warships moved up to the Black Sea’s Crimea shore.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 28, 2014
Thirteen giant Ilyushin-76 air transports (NATO codenamed IL-76 Candid) flew into the Crimea Friday night, Feb. 28, and landed some 2,000 fresh Russian troops at a military airfield near Sebastopol. debkafile’s military sources report the new intake belonged to the Russian Rapid Intervention Force. They arrived as the UN Security Council in New York discussed the Kiev government’s protest against the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Armed Russian troops earlier took control of the runways of Crimea’s two main airports at Simferopol and Sevastopol.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2014
Crimea is Russia’s main springboard for Putin’s Mid East strategy. Kerry’s last-ditch phone call to Lavrov may avert a Russian military operation – but at a steep price for Kiev and the West.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2014
The European wire-pullers misjudged the unrest in Kiev and let it go too far. They had planned a pro-EU unity government working with Yanukovych – not to oust him.
Pro-Moscow coup in Crimea. Russian fighter jets on W. border on combat alert. Kiev deploys security forces
DEBKAfile Special Report February 27, 2014
The Russian defense ministry announced Thursday, Feb. 27 that fighter jets stood on combat alert along its western borders with Ukraine. Moscow repeated its commitment to protect Russian-speaking elements in the Crimean Peninsula. Earlier, armed men carried out a pro-Russian coup in the Crimean capital, by seizing government and parliamentary buildings and hoisting Russian flags – in response to the pro-European coup in Kiev. Forces loyal to the provisional government in Kiev meanwhile surround the area which they say was occupied by “criminals in army fatigues.”
DEBKAfile Special Report August 25, 2013
The US has little doubt the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, a senior US official said Sunday, Aug. 25. "At this juncture, any belated regime decision to grant access to the UN team would be considered too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted.,” he said. This reaction indicated the White House had not backed away from military intervention, even after Tehran warned the US not to “cross red lines” in Syria and Moscow advised Washington to “avoid tragic mistakes.”
Lavrov: Russia will honor its S-300 missile contract with Damascus. Two Russian warships head for Syria
DEBKAfile Special Report June 21, 2013
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday, June 20, that Moscow will honor its controversial contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria. He spoke the day after the announcement that two warships carrying 600 Russian marines were heading for Syria "to protect the Russian citizens there” along, with air force cover “as needed.” debkafile: Russia and the West are pumping more arms into Syria ahead of the decisive battle for Aleppo between the HIzballah-backed Syrian army and heavily mobilized rebel forces.
Moscow sets up Russian Golan brigade, warns Israel Sunnis plus al Qaeda are bigger threat than Assad
DEBKAfile Special Report June 10, 2013
Moscow is determined to position Russian troops on the divided Golan as part of the UN force policing the separation sector because, said the Russian lawmaker Aleksey Pushkov Monday, June 10, “we cannot exclude… large-scale Syrian-Israel action.” He warned that if Assad was replaced by radical Islamists, he would seem like “an angel from heaven.” Vladimir Shamanov, Russian Airborne Troops chief, disclosed that a new brigade, dubbed “a peacekeeping unit,” had set up for the Golan and armed with MI-24 combat helicopters.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 8, 2013
The Kremlin pointedly disclosed President Vladimir Putin’s chat with Binyamin Netanyahu on Syria Friday June 7 - their third conversation in a month. debkafile: The frequent communications between the Russian and Israeli leaders speak volumes about who is calling the shots for Syria and the region.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 18, 2013
The Syrian war is set for its next stage, the spillover of hostilities from Syrian Golan into Israel. debkafile: This is the consequence of the failure of the US, Israel and Turkey to dismantle the Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah bloc, or stem the flow of Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Hizballah fighters and arms.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 16, 2012
Amid the worsening violence in Syria, US official sources said Saturday, June 16, that US intervention was not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ and defined its format as “Libya lite.” Pentagon officials earlier reported a Russian contingent was on its way to Syria to guard the Russian base at Tartus. As the Syrian civil conflict mounted onto the plane of major power intervention, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood announced that the UN observer mission he heads had suspended activities and patrols.