Russian base seen in satellite photo. Photo: ASOR/DigiGlobe
Beirut: The Russian military is constructing a new army base in the central Syrian town of Palmyra, within the protected zone that holds the archaeological site listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site and without asking for permission from relevant authorities, an American heritage organisation and a top Syrian archaeologist said Tuesday.
The American School of Oriental Research’s Cultural Heritage Initiative posted pictures from the satellite imagery and analytics company DigitalGlobe that show the construction on the edge of the ancient site that was damaged by the Islamic State group, which held Palmyra for 10 months.
A UNESCO official said it was unclear whether the encampment was in a buffer zone to the archaeological site but said it does not form a threat to the historic area. Continue reading →
The Turkish and Jordanian armies were reported on June 30 to be getting ready to cross into Syria for the first time since war engulfed that country in 2011, and set up security buffer zones. Both are impelled to fight ISIS, oppose the Assad regime and anxious to stem the flow of refugees, but there are also differences in their objectives and it is not clear if they are coordinated.
Turkey has prepared 18,000 troops to carve out a buffer zone in northern Syria and use its air force to impose a no-fly zone against Syrian flights. Middle East sources report that the Jordanian army is also on the ready to cross into southern Syria. Jordan and Israel are reported to be planning joint air cover and the creation of a parallel no-fly zone in the south. Continue reading →
China will likely never give up being North Korea’s puppet master so long as it gives legitimacy and recognition on the world stage as a third-party negotiator or go-to for the northern Communist regime.
Of course, the North Korean leadership is worried that China will use its dominance over North Korea’s economy to involve itself in internal North Korean affairs. The execution of Jang Song Thaek may have been a result of such concerns.
At the same time, China cannot help but direct more discontent and annoyance at North Korea. North Korea is staying afloat on Chinese assistance, but the country has implemented a political stance that is causing much difficulty for the Chinese.
Moreover, China’s leaders remember little about the Korean War and have little reason to continue helping North Korea. Continue reading →
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Amman this week to inaugurate the Centcom’s Forward Command in Jordan manned by 273 US officers. US media correspondents were permitted to visit the new war room for the first time on condition of non-disclosure of its location and secret facilities.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the installation is bomb- and missile-proof against a possible Syrian attack. The US Air Force command section is in direct communication with the US, Israeli, Jordanian and Saudi Air Force headquarters ready for an order by President Barack Obama to impose a partial no-fly zone over Syrian air space. Continue reading →
Western diplomatic sources said Israeli and Syrian forces were battling on a nearly daily basis along the Golan Heights. They said the fighting often began with Syrian Army or proxy attacks on Israel Army outposts and vehicles. Continue reading →