DEBKAfile Special Report April 21, 2014, 2:55 PM (GMT+02:00)
On April 11, Syrian planes dropped Chinese-manufactured chlorine gas canisters rigged with explosive detonators on Kafr Zita near Hama. Since then, British and French intelligence sources report at least four such attacks against the northern towns of Idlib and Homs and the Harasta and Jobar districts outside Damascus. Assad is dropping these crippling gas bombs at the rate of one every three days, mocking the 2013 Kerry-Lavrov chemical disarmament pact. debkafile: Iran is buying Chinese chlorine in industrial quantities off the Internet from a Hangzhou-based firm.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2014, 12:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Syrian army’s 90th Brigade’s loss of the forward Tel Al-Ahmar Golan position to rebel forces including al Qaeda’s Nusra Front was Bashar Assad’s most humiliating military setback in the past year. Situated on the Israeli border, that position commands the Golan town of Quneitra opposite the Israeli army. Determined to recover it, Assad has mustered a Syrian-Hizballah-Iraqi Shiite expeditionary force. Israel will have to decide how to deal with violations of the Golan demilitarized zone if the Syrian army uses heavy armor and mounts air strikes against the rebels.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 19, 2014, 12:24 PM (GMT+02:00)
That Israel has no answer for attacks from Syrian territory was apparent from its response to the bombing Tuesday, March 18 of the Golan Post 104, which injured four paratroopers – one seriously - the fourth such attack this month. Artillery and rockets were directed at a Syrian army post near Quneitra followed by air strikes. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon held the Assad regime responsible.debkafile: Holding a sovereign state responsible for terrorist action from its soil never worked in Gaza and will only lead to a war of attrition in the north.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2014, 11:45 PM (GMT+02:00)
Assad owes his nine lives and survivability to his army’s loyalty and the husbanding of his military resources and fire power for defending his regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 20, 2013, 12:39 AM (GMT+02:00)
Netanyahu and Gantz oppose intervention in Syria as a high-risk gamble, while some top generals urge building a security buffer in Syria up to the Israeli border to block the path of Al Qaeda to the Golan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 8, 2013, 11:02 PM (GMT+02:00)
Large Syrian forces through Tuesday night, Oct. 8, tightened the siege on the rebel-held town of Khan Arnabeh which is the key to controlling the main highway from the capital, Damascus, to the Syrian Golan. The town is expected to fall quite soon. Its capture also provides the key to the central crossroads around the Golan town of Quneitra and will enable the Syria army to return to the UN-policed disengagement zone dividing the enclave between Syria and Israel. debkafile: The rebels are putting up no more than token resistance.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 4, 2013, 1:08 AM (GMT+02:00)
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 Exclusive Report July 29, 2013, 8:08 AM (GMT+02:00)
Three months after the fall of Al Qusayr, the combined Syrian and Hizballah armies have captured the key city of Homs, 162 km northeast of Damascus. Its fall opens the way for Syrian-Hizballah forces to move in on Aleppo for a decisive victory. debkafile: Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara have run out of time for quibbling over whether to step into the Syrian conflict. The Obama administration must decide fast whether to let Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers win the Syrian civil war or stop them at Aleppo.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 25, 2013, 10:24 AM (GMT+02:00)
A logistics base for handling tanks, missile systems, self-propelled artillery bound for Syria and Hizballah is secretly under construction at Port Sudan, debkafile reports exclusively. Iranian Revolutionary Guards engineers in civilian dress are overseeing the hundreds of Sudanese workmen laboring flat out to build Iran’s second Red Sea base after Assab in South Eritrea. It is designed to handle Iran’s largest warships and submarines with a large arms depot that will cut in half the sea route for Iranian heavy arms to reach Iran’s Syrian and Hizballah allies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 3, 2013, 12:31 AM (GMT+02:00)
The thousands of Israeli military reservists rushed to the Syrian and Lebanese borders this week were told they would take part in a drill starting next Sunday. In fact, they opened up the border outposts and other facilities which had been shuttered for years and reactivated them as backing for ...
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2013, 11:09 PM (GMT+02:00)
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, 12:42 AM (GMT+02:00)
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 ...
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 19, 2013, 12:50 PM (GMT+02:00)
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 January 21, 2013, 10:19 PM (GMT+02:00)
Moscow Monday, Jan. 21 said two Russian planes would land in Beirut Tuesday to evacuate 100 Russians from Syria, and contingency plans were in hand to lift 30,000 Russians from the embattled country. debkafile: This was decided after Bashar Assad told his high command to organize mobile armored strike groups for a big push to evict rebel forces from the places they captured. Russia and Iran have stepped up their arms deliveries to Assad’s army by sea and by air in support of Assad's coming offensive.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 29, 2012, 11:23 AM (GMT+02:00)
Moscow and Tehran have advanced from their strategic partnership for Bashar Assad's survival to military cooperation. debkafile: An Iranian naval maneuver began in the Straits of Hormuz Friday, Dec. 28 - two days after Russia launched its largest naval war game ever in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. As Iranian-made Fateh A-110 missiles were fired this week by the Syrian army under Iranian officers, Moscow rapidly expanded the deployment of its highly-sophisticated S-400 interceptors near the Turkish border.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 8, 2012, 4:39 PM (GMT+02:00)
US, Turkish, British, Jordanian and French forces stand ready around Syrian borders awaiting the order to go forward still to come from US President Barack Obama. debkafile: President Bashar Assad is regrouping his army in defense array in strategic parts of Damascus, while planting mines and bomb traps in abandoned bases. Convoys carrying missiles, shells and canisters armed with chemical weapons continue to ply roads to the north, while the airlift of Iranian arms is rerouted to Palmyra.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 17, 2012, 9:35 PM (GMT+02:00)
Two Bashar Assad external supporters took significant military steps Wednesday, Oct. 17. Russia started moving advanced S-400 interceptors over to its southern military region opposite Turkey, as Ankara’s clashes with Assad’s forces intensified. Hizballah began removing rockets and fighting units out of their South Lebanon positions opposite Israel and transferring them to the Homs front as back-up for Syrian forces. This attests to the rising scope and fury of the Syrian army’s onslaught on rebel forces.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 4, 2012, 1:29 PM (GMT+02:00)
Turkish artillery continued to pound Syria Thursday, October 4, with the aim of carving out a 10-kilometer buffer strip inside Syria, debkafile reports. Several Syrian army bases and positions inside this strip have taken direct hits and a large number of Syrian troops were killed or wounded. Turkey hopes its artillery barrage will help Syrian rebels create a 50-km long protected corridor between Aleppo and the Turkish border. Ankara and Damascus have both imposed a blackout to keep events under control and avoid a full-blown war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 30, 2012, 10:19 AM (GMT+02:00)
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented Monday, July 30 on his way to the Middle East that the assault on Aleppo, “will ultimately be another nail in Assad’s coffin.” He spoke after the Free Syrian Army’s Saudi and Qatari intelligence backers based in Apaydin, Turkey, admitted that the ferocious Syrian government onslaught had derailed for now their safe haven scheme for the Aleppo region which was to have housed the FSA forward command and a Benghazi-style transitional government. Rebel-held Salaheddin has fallen.
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?