DEBKAfile Special Report December 30, 2012, 9:08 PM (GMT+02:00)
Both sides to the Syrian conflict appear to have launched a form of poison chemicals against their foes. Western and Middle East military sources say pro-Assad forces may have brought into the Homs battle of Dec. 23 imported gas grenades which Iran used to quell the 2009 Tehran riots. debkafile: Although Jordan claimed Sunday it “would not enter into any alliance to protect itself,” large NATO and US forces have prepared the kingdom for chemical attack. Some intelligence sources estimate Turkey or Israel may be next after Jordan.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 23, 2012, 12:42 PM (GMT+02:00)
“At the moment, [Syria’s] chemical weapons are under control,” said senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad Sunday, Dec. 23, echoing the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday that Syrian chemical weapons “are under control for the time being.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu then predicted early far-reaching changes in the Syrian regime with effect on "the sensitive weaponry present there.” debkafile: A foreign force commandeered the chemical stocks at al Safira after forcing the Syrian army and rebels to hold their fire.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 22, 2012, 2:48 PM (GMT+02:00)
The Syrian chemical warfare threat took an epic turn Saturday, Dec. 22 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement that “Syria has “consolidated its chemical weapons in one or two locations… and they are under control.” Russian military advisers training Syria’s military,” he said, “have kept close watch over its chemical arsenal.” debkafile: This was Moscow’s assurance to Washington that Russia had taken care of the danger of Syria’s WMD falling into Islamist terrorist hands, which came close Friday with the rebel assault on al-Safira.
DEBKAfile Video December 19, 2012, 11:28 AM (GMT+02:00)
debkafile Exclusive: The Russians have given Bashar Assad his most sophisticated weapon thus far – the Iskander cruise missile which has a hypersonic ...
DEBKAfile Special Report December 18, 2012, 7:11 PM (GMT+02:00)
Russian warships set out Tuesday, Dec. 18, for two Middle East flashpoint destinations: Two assault ships, a tanker and an escort vessel sailed from the Baltic to Syria – possibly to evacuate Russian citizens; and Russia’s largest anti-submarine vessel headed for the Gulfs of Aden and Oman close to the Persian Gulf and Iran. debkafile: Russia’s military steps seem to be actuated by anticipation of the international crisis arising from the introduction of chemical warfare to the Syrian war – either by Assad’s army or insurgents.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2012, 10:33 PM (GMT+02:00)
Amid another peak wave of violence in Syria, Washington has quietly withdrawn from its waters the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its Strike Group and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group with 2,000 Marines aboard. Russian vessels have meanwhile unloaded at Tartus a large consignment of arms for Assad’s army. Adding to stresses around Syria, Ahmadinejad cancelled a scheduled trip to Turkey, citing the warning by Iran’s military chief that the deployment of Patriots in Turkey heralded world war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2012, 10:50 AM (GMT+02:00)
Since the US designated Jabhat al-Musra a foreign terrorist organization Tuesday, Dec. 11, its fighters have been advancing rapidly toward the Syrian army’s main chemical weapons store and chemical-tipped missiles at Al Safira. Assad fired Scuds in an effort to stop their advance. debkafile: If the rebels, spearheaded by the Islamist terrorists, break into the base and lay hands on chemical weapons and missiles, the US may have to mount an air strike against the rebels - instead of Assad’s army.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2012, 10:08 AM (GMT+02:00)
Some of the chemical weapons pushed north by the Assad regime may have been sent from Syrian bases at Jabal Kalamon to Hizballah’s Lebanese Beqaa Valley strongholds, to keep them out of rebel hands, including al Qaeda, debkafile reports. Hizballah is thought to have split up the consignment among different bases to make them harder to attack. Assad is believed to have directed his troops to use chemical weapons if the rebels are near to seizing part of Damascus international airport.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 9, 2012, 12:03 PM (GMT+02:00)
US, Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish special forces are on the ground in Syria, armed with special gear for combating chemical arms. They are close enough to count the convoys carrying poison gas weapons, augmented by US military surveillance satellites and drones able to pinpoint their position at any moment. But it is feared that Bashar Assad has moved the chemical arms to secret caches and so US and other Western forces are poised opposite Syria’s borders ready to strike for any unforeseen move.
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 Special Report December 7, 2012, 3:09 PM (GMT+02:00)
Sources close to the French Defense Ministry reported Friday, Dec. 7, that a Western-Arab military intervention against the Assad regime will begin shortly with the participation of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and other anti-Assad Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. debkafile: French and British warships have joined the USS Eisenhower carrier off Syria. The mission would combine an air blitz and special operations forces on the ground for wiping out Assad’s chemical arms stocks, air force and air defense batteries.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2012, 10:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
President Barack Obama is holding back from ordering an attack on the Syrian army’s chemical units – just as the Syrian ruler is abstaining from issuing the “go” order to use those weapons. It seems that neither wants to go first. Stormy weather is a complicating factor which plays ...
DEBKAfile Special Report December 6, 2012, 8:13 AM (GMT+02:00)
American officials said Wednesday, Dec. 4, that they believed bombs had been made ready with sarin gas, but not yet loaded onto fighter planes and Assad had not issued the “go” order. The USS Eisenhower Strike Group has reached the Syrian coast with 8 fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 servicemen. With the USS Iwo Jima, the US has posted opposite Syria 70 fighter-bombers, 17 warships and 10,000 American fighting men – all in apparent readiness for US intervention in the Syrian conflict.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 4, 2012, 9:51 PM (GMT+02:00)
As NATO in Brussels gave the go-ahead Tuesday night Dec. 4, for the deployment of Patriots to protect Turkey against Syrian missiles, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reported convoys of the Syrian army’s chemical weapons units heading out of Damascus under cover of dark and turning north up the road to Aleppo. They were ferrying self-propelled cannons and shells armed with poisonous sarin gas. Assad used the heavy winds, cloud and rain to obstruct Western attacks on the convoys.
DEBKAfile Special Report December 2, 2012, 11:44 AM (GMT+02:00)
Western intelligence officers have seen new and different types of activity at Syrian chemical weapons sites, the New York Times reported Sunday, Dec. 2. “It’s not just moving stuff around,” they said. debkafile’s Middle East sources add rumors were flying around the region Saturday night and Sunday morning that President Assad had been killed or had fled Syria. Neither is confirmed. Those rumors tie in with the suggestive movements of chemical weapons picked up by Western intelligence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2012, 11:54 PM (GMT+02:00)
French President Francois Hollande convinced President Barack Obama to reverse his position against intervention in the Syrian with all possible speed to prevent Assad winning the war against the rebels. Turkey was given the green light to pursue steps against Syrian flights and airspace with a view to clearing ...
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 Exclusive Report September 29, 2012, 9:24 AM (GMT+02:00)
The sabotage of the Fordo uranium enrichment facility’s power lines on Aug. 17, gave Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the extra leeway to move his original red line for Iran from late September 2012 – now – to the spring or early summer of 2013, debkafile reports. But Tehran hit back fast with two aggressive actions on Israel’s doorstep: an al Qods military buildup in Syria and Lebanon, and Assad’s withdrawal of chemical weapons from storage and likely transfer to incoming Iranian units.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 21, 2012, 12:45 AM (GMT+02:00)
As Israel and Hizballah teetered on the brink of war, Iran airlifted elite Al Qods units into Lebanon and Syria to shore up the war capabilities and retilt the military balance against Israel.
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.