DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 18, 2012, 11:22 PM (GMT+02:00)
Eight nations are embroiled on both sides of the Syrian civil war, although the governments concerned pretend they are keeping to a policy led by the Obama administration of non-intervention. Amid cross-border clashes with Turkey, Bashar Assad has embarked on a scorched earth policy against his country.
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 11, 2012, 8:24 AM (GMT+02:00)
War tensions over Syria shot up again early Thursday, Oct. 11, when the Turkish army was placed on high readiness and its chiefs pledge stronger responses to Syria. An authoritative US source told debkafile that Turkey had - by forcing a Syrian civilian flight en route from Moscow land in Ankara and banning flights over Syria - begun creating a no-fly zone over Syria. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta again cited the threat of chemical warfare. US sources don’t expect Assad or Iran to take Turkish actions lying down.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 10, 2012, 10:08 PM (GMT+02:00)
Turkish air force jets forced a Syrian 35-passenger Airbus A320 bound from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara Wednesday night, Oct. 10. Ankara also announced Syrian air space was no longer safe for civilian flights – a signal that Ankara will stop civilian air traffic over Syria. Turkey has not indicated whether military aircraft or Iranian civilian planes frequenting Syrian skies are included in the ban, but it begins to look as though Turkey has take steps toward imposing Syria’s first no-fly zone.
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 Analysis September 8, 2012, 12:16 PM (GMT+02:00)
The first US-Turkish backed steps for creating safe havens in Syria and possible Western bombardment of the Syrian army have brought the Middle East close to two dangerous junctures: The Syrian army’s use of chemical and biological weapons, and an outbreak of hostilities between Hizballah and Israel – which nearly happened in mid-week, debkafile reports.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 7, 2012, 12:17 AM (GMT+02:00)
Turkey is finally getting its safe haven plan off the ground by bringing two Syrian rebel brigades under Turkish command for capturing large segments of northern Syria. The Free Syrian has meanwhile begun liquidating foreign Islamists including al Qaeda who have streamed into Syria to fight Assad.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 6, 2012, 10:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Turkish army officers have assumed direct command of at least two Syrian rebel brigades fighting Bashar Assad’s government forces, according to debkafile’s exclusive sources. This step and its future expansion, discussed during CIA Director David Petraeus’ talks in Ankara, have sent military tensions rocketing on Israel’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon. A high alert was declared for Israel units on the Syrian and Lebanese borders for a possible backlash after unusual military movements were detected in Syria and among Hizballah concentrations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2012, 7:27 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama is sending CIA Director David Petraeus in a hurry to Israel Sept. 3.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 30, 2012, 10:49 PM (GMT+02:00)
Sunni and Shiite Soldiers of Allah are on the march against each other. They are preparing for a clash of arms in the embattled Syrian arena. A mobilization campaign is drawing foreign jihadists to fight Assad out of many corners of the Sunni world, including lands now ruled by ...
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 17, 2012, 10:14 AM (GMT+02:00)
The disclosure Thursday night, Aug.16 by an American source that a worst-case scenario could require up to 60,000 ground troops for securing Syria's chemical and biological weapons sites was meant as psychological preparation for chemical warfare, say debkafile’s military sources, as Syria’s neighbors make ready.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2012, 12:51 PM (GMT+02:00)
The United States last week began laying plans for the contingency of Syrian chemical warfare by setting up joint military, intelligence and medical working teams with Israel, Turkey and Jordan. All three are feared under threat by Syrian president Bashar Assad, debkafile reports - as are US military facilities there. The White House, the CIA and the Pentagon’s DIA are laying odds on a Syrian unconventional attack, and all three countries under potential threat have ordered their medical services to make preparations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 11, 2012, 5:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
Hillary Clinton announced in Istanbul Saturday, Aug. 11, that US and Turkish intelligence services and military were to set up a joint working team to plan for “many contingencies including the very horrible scenario of the use of chemical weapons.” debkafile: Turkey has sent a first batch of anti-air, shoulder-carried Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels in Aleppo. It is feared Bashar Assad may regard this as a game-changer in the war and hit back with chemical attacks on the rebels, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 10, 2012, 12:47 AM (GMT+02:00)
Syrian rebels were stretched too thin and short of arms for winning Aleppo or for using Syrian army withdrawals from the rest of the country to establish safe havens. The opted for winning Aleppo – and have mostly likely lost.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 7, 2012, 9:20 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tehran gave Bashar Assad its strongest avowal of support yet Tuesday, Aug. 7, while heaping threats on the heads of his enemies, especially the US, Turkey and Israel. Saeed Jalili, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, sat alongside the Syrian ruler in Damascus at the end of their talks and vowed not to let Iran’s “close partnership with the Syrian leadership to be shaken by the uprising or external foes” or the “axis of resistance (Iran, Syria, Hizballah) be broken.” Assad pledged to purge Syria of terror.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 25, 2012, 1:31 PM (GMT+02:00)
Foreign forces were piling up on Syrian borders Wednesday, July 25, bringing closer a confrontation which could spur the Assad regime into making good on its threat to use chemical weapons against “external aggression.” The immediacy of the peril, debkafile reports, has speeded the arrival of Russian warships to Syria to counter a potential Western, Arab or Israeli assault on the embattled country. London sources predict British military intervention, while Tehran is ready to fight off any attempt at regime change in Damascus.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 22, 2012, 11:30 AM (GMT+02:00)
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 15, 2012, 10:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
Several high-placed generals Sunday, July 17 bolted Bashar Assad’s inner circle to Turkey, including such key figures as two security services chiefs who were operations commanders of the Alawite Shabiha militia plus the former head of Syria’s chemical and biological administration who took six other generals with him, debkafile reports exclusively. Another senior general was assassinated in Aleppo. Assad also received a last warning not to move his chemical weapons again or else they would be destroyed from the air.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 14, 2012, 2:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
Western military sources warned Saturday, July 14, that not only Israel, but Turkey and Jordan, too, should prepare for chemical missile strikes by a beleaguered Bashar Assad after missiles were test-fired this week in the Syrian war game against all three. There is disagreement in the West on Assad’s motives for moving his WMD out of storage. Some US officials say he is safeguarding them against falling into rebel hands; British officials report chemical weapons at Homs, Latakia and Aleppo deployed for ethnical cleansing.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 2, 2012, 10:05 AM (GMT+02:00)
In a phone call to the Kremlin Sunday, July 1, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he needed just two months to finish off the revolt against his regime. “My new military tactics are working,” he said, as his regime and the Syrian opposition rejected the UN-sponsored peace plan approved in Geneva Saturday. debkafile also reports exclusively that Assad’s "new tactics" consist of retiring the top army command and replacing it with Shabiha thugs armed with an unheard-of level of fire power. Syrian-Turkish border tension continues to climb.