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 9, 2014
The Israeli government has radically changed tack on Syria, reversing a policy and military strategy that were long geared to opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad, debkafile reports exclusively. This reversal was prompted by the increasing preponderance of radical Islamists among the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s army in the Quneitra area. It calls for a delicate balancing act. While loath to see Assad winning the Syrian war, Israel has no desire to have Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Al Nusra, sitting just across the Golan border in control of Quneitra.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2014
Syrian and Hizballah troops – commanded by Iranians – are close to taking the city of Aleppo and the whole of Idlib Province, a major strategic gain against anti-regime rebels.
Israel struck nine Syrian targets in response to boy’s death, and as a boost for the rebel bid for Quneitra
DEBKAfile Special Report June 23, 2014
Israel carried out nine strikes against Syrian military targets after midnight Monday, June 23, in retaliation for a Kornet rocket attack which killed an Israeli boy, and injured two others a few hours earlier. They were conducted by air and by Spike NLOS anti-tank missiles (Tamuz), against the Syrian 90th Brigade command center in Quneitra and three battalions. The IDF Spokesman said this was in response for ongoing cross-border aggression. debkafile: It was also an opportunity to help Syrian rebels break their standoff with Syria forces in the battle for Quneitra.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 29, 2014
Iran pulling together Shiite army of Afghan refugees to aid Assad’s depleted forces, as the US begins training Syrian rebels.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 27, 2014
President Barack Obama is due to unveil a program for the expansion of US involvement in the Syrian war against the Assad regime and al Qaeda elements. He is expected to announce in an address at the US Military Academy at West Point Wednesday, May 28, military training for moderate rebels and a regular supply of sophisticated weapons, including possibly anti-air systems. The Arab world perceives this as a move to counteract Russian, Iranian and Hizballah intervention in the Syrian conflict - or even as payback for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 26, 2014
Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah in his latest speech Sunday night, May 25, accused the IDF in unusual detail of providing anti-Assad rebels fighting in South Syria and Golan with added firepower. A Western military source told debkafile: “When the senior strategist of a military group shows off his intelligence, that is a declaration of war.” Nasrallah also accused Israel of violent incursions into southern Lebanon, saying, “Until now we haven’t reacted.” But next time “we’ll hit back at once.” Israel’s military chiefs treat this as a Hizballah threat of a dual-front war from Lebanon and Syria.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 22, 2014
The US backs local Syrian militias in effort to take south Syria and establish intelligence on the ground, but Assad is countering key bid for Quneitra.
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.
Homs falls to Assad: UN, Iranian officers secure Syrian rebels’ exit after Iranian hostages freed in Aleppo
DEBKAfile Special Report May 7, 2014
A joint UN observer-Iranian military team began evacuating 2,000 Syrian rebels and their families from the Old City of Homs Wednesday, May 7 ending the Syrian army’s brutal two-year siege. It was another major victory for President Bashar Assad. As a rebel on his way out put it to Western reporters, “The rest of the world failed us.” That the UN needed Iranian aid to accomplish this rescue attested to Tehran’s dominant role in Damascus – even greater than that of Russia - and the Revolutionary Guards’ control over Syrian and Hizballah military forces.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 22, 2014
Syrian rebels have been sighted wielding anti-aircraft weapons in various combat sectors in the last few days. Just as on April 6 debkafile was the first publication to disclose the supply of US weapons - BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles – to certain Syrian rebel militias, our military sources now reveal the delivery of Russian-made 9K310 Igla-1 aka SA-16 anti-aircraft rockets, whose operational range is 5.2 km. While the rebels can now hit Syrian assault aircraft for the first time, the new systems comes too late to turn the tide of war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 10, 2014
Assad moves fast to extend his military dominance over the south after discovering rebels backed by the US, Israel and Jordan taking over borderlands including the Golan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2014
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 Report April 4, 2014
The US begins supplying Syrian rebels – via Saudi Arabia – advanced weapons, including include anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles, heavy mortars and ammo. All the same, Obama’s welcome in Riyadh was heated rather than warm.
Syrian rebels allowed to attack Latakia from Turkish soil under Turkish air cover. Iran raises Cain in Ankara
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 29, 2014
Turkey has ratcheted up its intervention in the Syrian war to an unprecedented level, debkafile reports exclusively. For the first time in the three-year conflict, Turkey is giving Syrian rebel forces, including the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, passage through its territory to attack the northwestern Syrian coastal area around Latakia, the Assad clan’s birthplace. But if the rebels are thrown back, will the Turkish army come to their aid? If so, it would be Ankara’s first outright military incursion into Syria and NATO’s first intrusion in its civil war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2014
Assad has shifted the Syrian border to accommodate his gift to Hizballah of the Qalmoun Mountains to reward the Lebanese Shiites for aiding in the capture of Yabroud.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 23, 2014
The US has set up a new rebel command center at Quneitra near Israeli lines on the Golan. Its officers are indigenous Bedouin Al Nuaim tribesmen, defectors from the Syrian army, and Free Syrian Army survivors. Last week, Assad’s forces ambushed Syrian rebels trained in Jordan as they crossed into Syria. Over this weekend, his troops moved in on the environs of Quneitra and captured two villages. debkafile: There is still a long way to go before a force is ready to fight for a border strip in southern Syria under US-Israeli-Jordanian control.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 19, 2014
Israel’s top leaders marked the second round of nuclear talks between the Six Powers and Iran with a visit Tuesday, Feb. 18, to injured Syrians at the IDF field hospital in central Golan. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “I would like to tell the world today that Iran has changed neither its aggressive policy nor its brutal character…” debkafile: The IDF has thrown up a new dual bulwark on both sides of the Syrian border, including the new Bashan territorial division complete with a high-tech combat intelligence collection battalion.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 13, 2014
Syrian and Hizballah troops launched a major assault Wednesday, Feb. 12, on the Christian-Sunni Muslim town of Yabroud, 80 km north of Damascus, the last stronghold in the strategic Qalalmoun mountains to be held by Syrian rebel and Islamist forces. debkafile: Its fall would open the Damascus highway to Homs and the Allawite regions, secure Hizballah supply routes from Lebanon and potentially revive flagging Syrian army morale. Iranian Al Qods Brigades spies report Yabroud is the source of the bombing attacks on Hizballah in Beirut, Baalbek and the Beqaa Valley.