Two Syrian rebel militias judged moderate in Washington have in the last few days taken delivery and begun using – mostly in the Idlib region – the first advanced US weapon to be deployed in more than three years of civil war, debkafile’s military sources reveal. It is the heavy anti-tank, optically-tracked, wire-guided BGM-71 TOW, which is capable of piercing 50mm thickness of Syrian tank armor and Syrian fortifications at a range of 4 kilometers. Armed with this weapon now are Brig-Gen. Abdul-Hila al Bashir, the new commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is headquartered at the Golan town of Quneitra, and Jamal Maarouf, head of the rebel Syrian Revolutionary Front fighting in the north.
The appearance of this advanced missile radically alters the balance of strength on the Syrian battlefield. It also denotes a striking change in Obama administration policy, which hitherto flatly resisted every demand to provide Syrian rebel groups with the heavy arms essential for them to have any chance of standing up to Bashar Assad’s superior military strength. Continue reading
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia, exasperated with U.S. vacillation related to Syria’s chemical arsenal and now its effort to reconcile with Iran, Riyadh’s foremost adversary, is forging a new alliance of Islamist rebels in Syria under a pro-Saudi warlord to supersede the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.
Riyadh also wants to foment an Iraq-style “Sunni Awakening” to unite Syria’s majority sect to topple the minority Damascus regime of President Bashar Assad.
Middle East analyst Michael Weiss, writing in the Beirut Web portal Now Lebanon, observed Riyadh has “taken substantive measures to circumvent Washington altogether on Syria by activating a cadre of new clients in the form of a hard-line Salafist rebels who are now united under the umbrella of the army of Islam. Continue reading
Although this event is unconfirmed, this is also what Saddam Hussein did with his WMDs shortly before the second invasion of Iraq, with help from the Russians. If confirmed to be so, some of these could even be the old Iraqi WMDs. The US State Department had previously warned Iraq about this possibly happening in February of 2012 (see fourth link).
For further information on the Iraqi WMDs and Syria WMD related items, see these following links:
Extra piece on the danger of loose WMDs: The Path to 9/11 and Beyond
Unconfirmed report in Lebanese newspaper echoes claims by Syrian rebels that Assad is hiding his WMD stocks to evade inspectors
Twenty trucks laden with equipment used in the manufacture of chemical weapons were driven across the border from Syria into Iraq on Thursday and Friday, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday.
The trucks were “heavily protected” by security forces, and were not inspected by border guards, the paper reported, adding that its sources confirmed the illicit cargo. Continue reading
American intelligence analysts have concluded that a recent alleged Israeli airstrike on a warehouse in Syria did not succeed in destroying all of the Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that were its target, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
American officials who spoke to the newspaper on the matter predicted that further Israeli strikes are likely since some of the missiles hadn’t been destroyed. Continue reading
Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been placed on alert after a suspected Israeli airstrike destroyed advanced, Russian missiles recently delivered to Syria.
Last week, in the Syrian port city of Latakia, several pre-dawn explosions were reported to have destroyed advanced Russian missiles that had recently arrived and were being temporarily stored at the port. A spokesman for the opposition Free Syrian Army, describing the July 5 attack, said Tuesday that “It was not the FSA that targeted this. It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels.” The FSA spokesman, Qassem Saadeddine, went on to say “This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.” The suggestion is that Israel was behind the attack. The Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles, it is speculated, could have been considered a threat to Israel’s naval forces. Continue reading
Berlin, (SANA)- German “Die Welt” daily said that only 5% of the armed terrorists in the so-called Free Army are Syrians, while 95% of them are extremist groups which came from several African countries to jihad in Syria baked by the Gulf and Arab countries.
The daily quoted intelligence experts in Germany as saying : ” The German intelligence has an official and detailed account of the nationalities of the rebels in Syria and their locations in the country,” Continue reading
Whether it’s Syrian rebels, the Assad regime or a response from Israel, day by day Isaiah 17:1 looks to be coming closer to fruition.
Syrian rebels possess the ability to produce chemical weapons that would be used as a last resort should they face chemical strikes from the Bashar Assad regime, a political counselor to the Free Syrian Army claimed in an interview with Turkey’s official Anatolia news agency last week. Continue reading
Major-General Adnan Sillu, who was reportedly participating in “top-level” talks about the use of chemical weapons on civilians and insurgents, told Al Arabiya that the Syrian government had stashed chemical weapons in various cities, specifically in Homs and Aleppo.
“Syria’s chemical arsenal has reached similar levels to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said in an interview to the Saudi-owned website. Continue reading
Turkish army officers have assumed direct command of the first two Syrian rebel brigades fighting Bashar Assad’s government forces, according to debkafile’s exclusive sources. This step has sent military tensions rocketing on Israel’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon in case of a backlash.
The rebel North Liberators Brigade in the Idlib region of northern Syria and the Tawhid Brigade fighting in the Al-Bab area northeast of Aleppo are now taking their operational orders from Turkish officers, who exercise their authority from headquarters outside Syria in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. Nonetheless, Turkey is considered to have stepped directly into the Syrian conflict marking the onset of foreign intervention.
Western and Arab military circles in the Middle East expect Turkey to extend its command to additional rebel units – not all of them part of the Free Syrian Army.
This first step has already caused waves.
4. Later that day, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan commented: “The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state.”
Only a few of Erdogan’s listeners understood he was laying international legal grounding for expanding Turkish military intervention in Syria.
Full article: Turkish officers take command of Syrian rebel brigades. N. Israel on alert (DEBKAfile)
Whether by following Global Geopolitics postings for a while or informing yourselves through various other news sources, readers have seen the developments in Syria unfold from demonstrations to violence. This violence has caused the international community’s involvement and from there has increased the threat level of Syrian retaliation toward its neighbors. We’re now at the tipping point to where all sides are ‘braced for impact’.
The next question is: What will cause the spark that leads to all-out war? One could look towards the use of chemical and/or biological weapons used on their own people or the Jewish state of Israel as one such indicator. Another possibility is the tension with Turkey spiriling out of control via military confrontation as we’ve seen in the past with the downing of two Turkish military aircraft.
Either way, the prospects of war is a question when and not if.
The US and its allies are discussing a worst-case scenario that could require up to 60,000 ground troops to go into Syria to secure chemical and biological weapons sites following the fall of the Assad government, an unnamed American source said Thursday night, Aug.16.
This scenario postulates the disintegration of his security forces, he said, leaving chemical and biological weapons sites vulnerable to pillaging. It assumes the sites could not be destroyed by aerial bombings in view of health and environmental hazards.
The American special forces deployed on the Jordanian-Syrian border and in bases in Israel and Turkey clearly perceive a chemical-biological weapon threat. Military and medical preparations are being quietly put in place. Reconnaissance teams from potentially targeted countries have infiltrated Syria. They are on the lookout for any chemical missiles being moved into firing positions, although it is taken into account that Assad may be shifting decoys and that not all the real launchings can be stopped.
The Syrian ruler may also decide to transfer chemical explosives to Hizballah in Lebanon. Israel is on record as warning it would prevent this.
Wednesday, August 15, Bashar Assad’s violence again broke new ground:
Syrian air force bombers struck Azaz not far from the Turkish border – for the first time with the aim of razing a complete Syrian town. More than 80 people were killed and 150 wounded. He was telling the Free Syrian Army rebels who had been using Azaz as their command post and logistical hub for the Aleppo battle that the gloves were off and the same punishment would be meted out to any urban areas hosting them.
The Syrian ruler also warned Ankara through back channels that if any more Turkish FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were supplied to the FSA, he would arm the 2,500 Turkish rebel PKK Kurdish fighters allowed to deploy on the Syrian-Turkish border with Russian SA-8 anti-air missiles for use against Turkey.
Ankara shot back: That will be war.
Full article: Syria’s neighbors braced for chemical threat. Assad warns Turkey on Stingers (DEBKAfile)
The Syrian opposition has identified senior Iranian and Russian officers
assigned to help the Assad regime. The Free Syrian Army said Iran and Russia
were helping the Syrian Army and security forces with tactics, technology
and operational planning.
“We warn all the snakes to go back to their dens whether it is Russia,
Iran and Iraq or Lebanon,” FSA said in a statement on Aug. 9.
The United States has asserted that Moscow was sending senior officers and other personnel to advise the Assad regime. U.S. officials said Russian advisers were maintaining Syria’s air defense network, which in June shot down a Turkish Air Force F-4 fighter-jet.
FSA has also abducted scores of Iranians later identified as members of
the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. On Aug. 8, Iranian Foreign
Minister Ali Akbar Salehi acknowledged that former IRGC officers had been
captured by Sunni rebels.
Full article: Russian, Iranian advisors spotted in Syria by opposition (World Tribune)
NICOSIA — Iran was said to have poured thousands of elite troops
The Syrian opposition said thousands of members of Iran’s Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps have arrived in Syria. Opposition sources said the Iranian troops came from special operations units, with many of them skilled in sniper and explosives.
Al Oqueidi, chairman of the rebel military council in Aleppo, said the
Iranians were meant to replace the tens of thousands of Sunni who deserted the Syrian Army. He said at least 3,000 of the IRGC troops were trained in sniper missions.
The Iranians were said to have been participating in Assad military
campaigns in both Aleppo and Damascus. In Aleppo, an estimated 20,000 Syrian Army troops were awaiting orders to invade the nation’s business capital and largest city.
The military has reported that it regained control over the Damascus
area. In an unusual move, the Army led a tour for journalists of former
rebel positions on Aug. 3.
“We have cleansed all the districts of Damascus, from Al Midan to Mazeh,
from Al Hajar Al Aswad to Qadam to Tadamun,” a Syrian Army officer said.
The Free Syrian Army said many of the IRGC personnel in Syria were in
civilian clothes. FSA said it captured 48 IRGC officers outside Damascus
International Airport disguised as pilgrims and part of a 150-man
“During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers of
IRGC,” an FSA officer said in a video statement. “They were on a
reconnaissance mission in Damascus.”
Full article: Iran to the rescue: Thousands of special ops troops said arriving in Syria (World Tribune)
Day by day, step by step, Isaiah 17:1 is slowly coming to pass:
Opposition forces in Syria reported, Tuesday, that the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad transferred some of its chemical-weapons arsenal and equipment for mixing its chemical components to airports in border areas, according to Agence France Presse.
A statement from the Free Syrian Army said, “We in the joint command of the Free Syrian Army inside the country know very well the locations and positions of these weapons.” The statement continued, “According to our information, the regime began moving its stocks of weapons of mass destruction several months ago…with the goal of putting pressure on the region and the international community.” The group said it was impossible to believe that the Damascus government would use the weapons against Israel.
Full article: Report: Assad Transferred Chemical Weapons to Airports (Arutz Sheva)
President allays injury suspicions with TV appearance to swear in Defence Minister
Rumours about the location of the royal couple were rife yesterday with unverified reports claiming that President Bashar al-Assad had fled to safety in the coastal province of Latakia while his glamorous British-born wife left for Russia.
Although the president made a brief appearance on state television yesterday to swear in his new Defence Minister, Fahad Jassim al-Freij, whose predecessor was killed in the Damascus blast that took out several top regime officials, state television did not say where or when the footage was filmed.
The president’s first public appearance since the attack will, however, allay suspicions that the president was himself injured.
Opposition sources and a Western diplomat told Reuters that the president was directing the official response to the assassinations from Latakia, the heartland for the Alawite sect to which the ruling family belongs. The Assad clan hails from the provincial town of Qardaha which perches on a hill above Latakia city.
Assad’s mother Anisa Makhlouf and his newly widowed sister Bushra travelled with the body of his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat to Latakia last night on a private jet, according to a Free Syrian Army source who said the group had “insiders” informing them of the ruling family’s movements.
The same source said that Assad had been injured – but in an attack earlier on Wednesday and not the blast at the national security centre.
“The president was in Al Shaab Palace in Damascus and there was a warning at 3.30am and they decided to move him,” the source said. “As they moved, the Free Syrian Army was striking the area with mortars and one hit the cars. He only had small injuries.”
The Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riyad Haddad, told Russian news agency Interfax that reports that the First Lady Asma al-Assad, had fled there were “completely false”.
Full article: Hunt for Assad is on amid claims of wife Asma’s exit to Russia (The Independant)
NICOSIA — Syria is said to have amassed its military along the border with Turkey.
Syrian opposition sources said the military of President Bashar Assad was deploying a large force of main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers along the Turkish border.
The sources identified the base of the operation as the northern city of Aleppo, deemed the business capital of Syria.
“They are preparing to move to the Syrian border,” Mustafa Sheik, the military chairman of the Free Syrian Army, said.
Sheik, a Syrian general defector, said the MBT force was no more than 30 kilometers from the Turkish border. He said the armored force would either confront the Turkish military deployment near the Syrian border or attack rebel-held areas in the Idlib province.
Full article: Report: Syrian forces massing along Turkey border (World Tribune)