90 articles tagged "Syrian war"
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The Syrian Rebel Push Stalls at Gates of Quneitra, Letdown for US Backer
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.

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Gen. Benny Gantz and US missile officer
US assigns 13,000 servicemen to first ever combined US-Jordan-Israeli exercise. Hizballah heads for Golan
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 21, 2014

For two conjoined military exercises with Israel (Juniper Cobra) and Jordan (Eager Lion), the US has moved more than 6,000 Marines to the kingdom and several thousand servicemen to Israel. The Jordanian drill lasts from Sunday, May 25 to June 8. The US-Israeli exercise began this week with another 6,000 combat personnel arriving from the US European Command and 1,000 airmen to operate missile defense systems. Wednesday, May 21, border tensions shot up on the news of large Hizballah military contingents on the move toward southern Syria. 

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Small Golan town of al-Kahtaniyya falls to Syrian rebels
Nine US-backed Syrian rebel militias advance on Quneitra, key to controlling Golan
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.

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US in secret talks with Hassan Nasrallah
Secret US-Hizballah talks. Washington plans to include Lebanon, Syria deals in Iran nuclear pact
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2014

The Obama administration has embarked on secret dialogue with Hizballah, debkafile reports. The first direct encounter between the CIA and Hizballah representatives took place in early March in Cyprus. Two subsequent meetings have produced initial US-Hizballah understandings for Lebanon and Syria. The administration reckons that any difficulties cropping up in those talks can be fixed by turning to Tehran. Mahmoud Abbas turned to Hamas for hs Palestinian unity pact reasoning that if the US may engage a terrorist organization in talks, so too may his own PLO.

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New OC Northern Command Gen. Aviv Kochavi
Two Mid East intelligence chiefs, Gen. Kochavi and Prince Bandar, were wrong about Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 26, 2014

In his three years as AMAN chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, just appointed OC Northern Command, was credited with enhancing the corps’ operational capabilities. But, on the debit side, he made three major miscalculations: He overrated the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s life expectancy, underrated Bashar Assad’s chances of survival; and did not recommend that Israel halt Hizballah’s military intervention in the Syrian War. Kochavi shared his second mistake with Prince Bandar, who paid for it by his replacement as Director of Saudi Intelligence on April 15.

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Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah
Washington’s Dialogue with Tehran Extends to an Elevated Hizballah
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 25, 2014

Hizballlah leader Hassan Nasrallah seeks the role of key to resolving the Syrian civil conflict and the Obama administration in deference to that role has launched a secret dialogue with the Lebanese group.

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Barack Obama and King Abdullah
US Finally Sends Syrian Rebels Arms via Saudi Arabia – Only as Path to Geneva-3
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.

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Israel Plans Drones Option against Al Qaeda Lairs outside Its Borders
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2014

Israel has set up new IDF formations for combating potential terrorist incursions from three al Qaeda-ruled areas adjoining its borders, while also planning to use drones.

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Abu Mahdi Mohandes
Shiite Fighters in Syria Outnumber Sunnis for the First Time
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 27, 2014

There are roughly two Shiites for every Sunni fighting in the Syrian civil war today, a total of 130,000 Shiites compared with no more than 50-60,000 Sunnis, including members of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

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Assad Rewards Hizballah for Yabroud with the Gift of Syria’s Qalamoun Mountains
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.

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Bashar Assad
The Dictator Has Nine Lives. But He Can’t Crack the Opposition
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2014

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.

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Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu
Putin’s Chessmen in Place for Military Intervention in Ukraine – or a Western Climb-down
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.

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Nabi Chit highway crosses from Syria to Lebanon
Syrian-Lebanese border partly erased by hectic war traffic. Israeli air strike Monday mostly inside Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 26, 2014

Middle East sources say Israel’s air strikes on Monday, Feb. 24, were conducted by no more than one or two warplanes which aimed four rockets at a single target, an SS-21 surface missile launcher. Four Hizballah operatives were killed. Large sections of the Lebanese-Syrian border are obliterated by the hectic traffic of arms, men and smuggling networks. Rising there too is an international Shiite legion. Hizballah’s Beqaa Valley arms and missile stores are now strategic reserve supply centers for Hizballah and Syrian units fighting in border sectors.

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New Syrian rebel command post at Quneitra
Assad’s army hits border areas as US, Israel, Jordan enlarge South Syrian foothold
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.

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Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Bandar’s Ouster Clears the Path for US South Syrian Base
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 20, 2014

The Obama administration reverts to its former plan for a US-backed Syrian enclave in South Lebanon as a lever for influence in Damascus, to be achieved with Israeli, Saudi and Jordanian help.

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Prince Bandar bin Sultan -architect of Saudi Syria, Iran strategies
Obama’s Iran policy wins key point: Saudis drop its lead antagonist Prince Bandar
DEBKAfile Special Report February 19, 2014

Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was reported by debkafile’s US and Saudi sources Wednesday, Feb. 19, to have been removed from policy-making in Riyadh. The prince was the live wire of kingdom’s drive against President Barack Obama’s détente with Tehran. Bandar’s removal is one up for Obama, and a significant loss for Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu as the only other Middle East leader ready to publicly decry US policies on Iran and Syria. No word about the prince’s status has come from Riyadh since he dropped out of sight a month ago.

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Syrian forces ranged against Yabroud
Syrian-Hizballah forces massed to storm Yabroud, last rebel holdout in Qalamoun range
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.

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Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani
Iran spreads its war wings: Hizballah deepens role in Syria. Israel, Syria, Lebanon “regions of conflict”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2014

In a policy makeover, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to seal off in a separate policy compartment Iran’s nuclear diplomatic tactics for obtaining sanctions relief - and for dominating the Syrian war negotiations resuming in Geneva, Monday, Feb. 10 - and place Iran’s regional goals in another box. Alongside diplomacy, Al Qods Brigades chief Qassem Soleimani will execute Iran’s expanded regional interventions. Hizballah is already deepening its role in the Syrian civil war, while Lebanon, Syria and Israel are targeted by Tehran as “areas of conflict.”

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James Clapper, US Intelligence Director
US grants Iran a seat at the next round of Geneva II conference on Syria - alongside big powers
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2014

The second round of the Geneva II conference on the Syrian conflict opens Monday, Feb. 10 – this time with a seat at the table for the Iranian delegation provided by Washington, debkafile reports exclusively. Last week the US banned Iranian participation. Washington’s turnabout now was relayed to the Iranian officials at the secret alternative conference taking place unannounced in Bern, where the real business is contracted – not at Montreux. The US has thus awarded Iran major power status for the first time at an international event determining an important Mid East issue.

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Syrian helicopters dropping barrel bombs on Aleppo homes
State denies Kerry admitted US Syrian failure. Israel shoots down US-led NATO force for Palestinian State
DEBKAfile Special Report February 4, 2014

January was the bloodiest month of the Syrian conflict. US Secretary John Kerry was quoted by US Senators McCain and Lindsey as admitting that administration Syrian policy had failed and a new strategy was indicated. Yet State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki accused the senators of “mischaracterizing" his remarks. NSA Susan also rose to Kerry’s defense to reprove Israelis for criticizing him. Jerusalem has meanwhile rejected as unpractical the proposal for US-led NATO forces to take over anti-terror tasks from the IDF in a Palestinian state.

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