DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 15, 2011
Taking advantage of the 15-day leeway granted him by the US and Turkey, Bashar Assad Monday, Aug. 15, sent tanks and mechanized infantry into Homs, a town of 1.5 million inhabitants. Heavy shelling rings out as clouds of smoke rise over the city. Homs is Syria's third largest town and the biggest the Syrian military has attacked. In Latakia, Syrian tanks continue to battle armed Palestinians and in Brussels, NATO and Turkey get set to send the rebels anti-tank weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2011
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's Damascus mission started with a military ultimatum and ended on a weak note which drew a contemptuous reaction from Bashar Assad. Damascus is working against the clock. Assad hopes to have broken the back of the anti-Assad protest. Otherwise, zero military conscription will break the army.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 10, 2011
Less than 24 hours after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu handed Bashar Assad in Damascus "a final warning," to stop the bloodshed or else, Assad demonstrated coolly that he is not scared by the prospect of Turkish or NATO military intervention or deterred by new US sanctions against Syria's biggest bank and mobile phone company. The day after his Turkish guest departed, Wednesday, Aug. 10, Assad launched provocative military assaults on three towns in the Turkish border region - following receipt of a missile shield guarantee from Iran.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 9, 2011
Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu left Damascus empty handed after six hours of talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad Tuesday, Aug. 9. Assad indicated the military operation against the protesters would soon be over, but refused to commit to a deadline. That was up to the rebels, he said, not him or the Syrian army. He pledged to "pursue the terrorists." It remains to be seen whether Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan makes good on his ultimatum of military intervention unless the bloodshed ends.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 8, 2011
As his tanks and artillery stormed the eastern Syrian town of Deir al-Zour, killing 100 civilians in one day, the US and Turkey Sunday night, Aug. 7 began to turn the screw on President Bashar Assad: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu to press Syria to "return its military to the barracks," during his visit to Syria Tuesday. The Syrian ruler with Iranian backing spurned the ultimatum even before the minister reached Damascus.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 5, 2011
Thursday night, Aug. 4, the commanders of Syria's military crackdown on the city of Hama ordered suspected protesters to be picked up off the streets for summary execution. Within hours, hundreds of victims were "executed" by firing squad in Nasser Square. The order was issued when the military failed to overcome mounting resistance.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Syrian President Bashar Assad: "We are watching how the situation is developing. It's changing and our approach is changing as well."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2011
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wants to visit Gaza next Sunday or Monday (24-25 July), debkafile reports. But both Turkish and Egyptian security services fear the visit would give the al Qaeda cells based in the Gaza Strip and Sinai a chance to assassinate him. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas maintains it would amount to de facto Turkish and Egyptian recognition of the Hamas government. And in Jerusalem, Erdogan would appear to be deliberately hampering efforts to heal its rift with Ankara.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 5, 2011
The United States, Britain, France and Turkey are spearheading a plan to preserve Bashar Assad as Syrian president while cutting away his support system of relatives and political and military chiefs and replacing them with "moderate opposition" figures, debkafile reports exclusively. But the process is marred by profound mutual mistrust: The West suspects he has no intention of abandoning his savage crackdown on protest, while Assad suspects he is being set up for a Turkish invasion.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 4, 2011
The Palestinian Authority is broke. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad appealed to "donors and our Arab brothers" Sunday, June 3, for urgent assistance after being forced to halve civil servants' July wages. The US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia could save the PA from bankruptcy – in theory. But, debkafile reports, the Saudis prefer to channel cash to Jordan and Washington's bailout is conditional on Mahmoud Abbas dropping his unilateral UN initiative and going back to negotiations with Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 2, 2011
The organizers of Freedom Flotilla II against Israel's naval blockade on Gaza – among them Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's son-in-law Hamoud Tareq - never dreamed the stalling of their expedition would be served up as the founding step of the nascent pro-US Israel-Greek-Turkish alliance. If Mahmoud wants to jump aboard this grouping, he must drop his UN move for Palestinian recognition, so pre-empting the storm Binyamin Netanyahu's ill-wishers are counting on for ending his rule.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 27, 2011
Iran's big war game was launched Monday, June 27 ahead of a Turkish operation against Syria's Assad regime anticipated by its military and Revolutionary Guards chiefs, with the unveiling of its first underground missile silo. debkafile reports Tehran expects the Turkish army to have US air and naval support in case of Iranian reprisals against them both. Israel moves an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery to Haifa.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 25, 2011
As Turkey heads for a military showdown with Syria, Ankara has agreed to restore military and intelligence collaboration in the eastern Mediterranean with Israel, debkafile reports. The deal worked out between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also returns Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to a role in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and gives him a chance to try and bring Hamas aboard. Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon finalized the details in secret talks in Ankara.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 24, 2011
Obama and Erdogan had divided up Arab Revolt missions between them, targeting another two Arab rulers, Muammar Qaddafi and Bashar Assad, for eventual eviction – first by diplomacy, then by force - when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi jumped in with a demand for NATO to halt hostilities in Libya pronto.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 24, 2011
Prime Minister Netanyahu has dropped his long-time ally and partner-in-policymaking Defense Minister Ehud Barak and turned to hardline Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as his only adviser. But essentially, Bibi has dispensed with a circle of advisers and taken over the solo lead in all defense affairs and important foreign relations.
DEBKAfile Special Report June 20, 2011
debkafile reports war fever in and around Syria after Syrian President Bashar Assad's speech Monday, June 20, sparked riots by disappointed protesters in Damascus and Latakia. Syria airspace remains open to civilian traffic although Cypriot sources earlier reported it closed. Turkish military helicopters are reported infiltrating northern Syria on reconnaissance missions and Arab sources report NATO is planning to fly extra troops from Spanish and German bases to the Izmir Air base in western Turkey to expand the current number of 400.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 17, 2011
Lebanon has a new government headed by Najib Mikati, ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hizballah. Formed suddenly on June 13, the 30-minister lineup has earmarked an unprecedented 18 portfolios – including defense and interior – to Hizballah loyalists and pro-Syrian politicians. While fighting the uprising against his rule, Bashar Assad has recaptured Beirut. The appointment of friendly Fayez Ghosn as defense minister places the army at the service of Damascus and portends trouble on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 16, 2011
Turkey considers giving Bashar Assad a last chance before resorting to military action after receiving the promise of a US shield against Iranian or Syrian missile retaliation. Assad, for his part, is rigidly fixated on his harsh crackdown and a victory over the rebels against his regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 16, 2011
Assad's decision to bank on the army to extinguish the revolt against him is paying off. The US and the West could have starved him of funds for his crackdown by an embargo on Syrian oil experts – but refrained from doing so. In any case, the Syrian economy is about to crash
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 12, 2011
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is championing the Sunni Muslims of Jisr a-Shughour against the tanks and helicopters of his erstwhile allies Bashar Assad, Iran and Hizballah, to promote his ambition as a leading Muslim power. Sunni Muslims outside are avidly watching the Muslim Brotherhood's first challenge in any Arab uprising to an Arab army in battle, hoping for large-scale Syrian army defections in defiance of the ongoing massive purge of the rebellious town.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 10, 2011
The Syrian crisis has taken a dramatic turn: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday night, June 10, decided to move his army into northern Syria where battles were blazing in Idlib, Maarat al-Numaan and Jisr al-Shuhour, debkafile's sources report. His government is considering defining its mission as the protection of civilian lives against a barbaric ruler citing the UN Security Council resolution on Libya. Refugee camps will also go up on the Syrian side of the border to stem the flow into Turkey.