U.S., Israel on Hair Trigger Over Syria

TruNews – July 6, 2018

According to a new report, U.S. and Israeli warplanes are flying “overlapping” 24/7 patrols over southwestern Syria, “ready to go into action if shared red lines are crossed.”

The independent security and intelligence journalists at DEBKA, citing its extensive sources within the Israel Defense Forces, reports that F-18 fighters are monitoring the fighting around the Syrian city of Daraa and the Israeli and Jordanian border regions. The report also notes the IDF has “prepared for three scenarios” in response to Russian-backed Syrian and Hezbollah activity in the area:

• A possible deal with the Daraa rebels being replicated for Quneitra on the Israeli border.

• Daraa’s possible conquest by Syrian-Hezballah forces, with the help of massive Russian air strikes—which increased on Thursday to 100 sorties—being repeated as the tactic for seizing Quneitra.

• A possible assault on Quneitra coming from the southeast of the Golan and starting in the town of Nawa.

The report notes the third scenario is the most likely, citing “U.S. CENTCOM and IDF strategists,” stating that after Daraa is taken, the Syrian-Hezbollah force would turn west toward Quneitra. The offensive to take the city on the Israeli border would eventually put the force directly on the Israeli border in the Golan

https://www.trunews.com

Failed Israeli-Russian deal opens SW Syria to Syrian bombardment, Iranian/Hizballah presence

Debkafiles – June 22, 2018

Syria’s moves in the southwest this week followed Russia’s failure to persuade Israel to stand aside and allow Assad’s army to take charge of the Quneitra and Daraa regions on the Israeli and Jordanian borders. Moscow hoped that the Syrian rebel forces defending the two areas would lay down their arms and go over to Bashar Assad’s army. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Netanyahu government spurned Russia’s plan – not least for lack of trust, suspecting that the Syrians would cheat and let Hizballah reach its border. Last month, an attempt was made to trick Israel, after its consent to a previous Russian plan to hand the Beit Jinn enclave on Mt Hermon to Syria, by providing Hizballah troops with Syrian Army 4th Division uniforms.

The same deception is being practiced at present in the southwest regions of Daraa and Quneitra. Russian and Syrian propaganda machines claim that Hizballah and pro-Iranian Shiite militiamen are being withdrawn from the Israeli and Jordanian borderlands,  when in fact they are not moving after being disguised in Syrian army uniforms. The Russians don’t mention an Iranian withdrawal because Moscow pretends they don’t exist, when in fact an Iranian command center is fully operational in that part of Syria.

https://www.debka.com

U.S.-Israeli ‘Intervention’ in Syria More Likely

TruNews – June 21, 2018

With Syrian government officials reportedly ignoring U.S. and Israeli calls to exclude Iranian proxies, like Hezbollah, from the battle for Daraa in the southwest of the country, the likelihood both countries could launch a “military intervention” is growing.

That battle is now under way after Syria’s elite “Tiger” forces launched an assault Tuesday night (local time) on an air base under the control of the U.S.-backed jihadist Southern Front and the allied Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, an arm of al-Qaeda. This particular area has been a hotbed for al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorist “insurgency” since the beginning of the seven-year civil war.

Israel has also been well aware of the presence of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the region that borders the Golan Heights and has even provided direct aid to members of both groups when they have come under Syrian government fire.

https://www.trunews.com

Sudden IDF call-up of reserves after Syria announces Quneitra offensive this week

Debkafiles – June 10, 2018

Israel launched an unscheduled military exercise on the Golan Sunday, June 10. Thousands of army reservists were ordered to report for immediate duty with full gear and come directly from their homes and work places. That the sudden IDF announcement did not set a timeline for the exercise’s ending indicated that it was prompted by the Syrian military announcement on the same morning of a major army offensive impending this week in the Quneitra region opposite Israel’s Golan border. The announcement also referred to a twin offensive against the Daraa province on the Jordanian border. The units taking part were named as the Syrian army’s 4th armored division for Quneitra and the “Tiger Force,” backed by 4th division elements, for the Daraa operation.

Israel’s Golan exercise was announced in order to deter the Syrian offensive.

DEBKAfile reported earlier that Bashar Assad ordered his army to go forward this week in the light of the failure of the talks in Helsinki on Friday between the Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s General Staff, to reach agreement on the Syrian question.

https://www.debka.com

US Promises “Firm” Measures if Damascus Breaks Ceasefire in Daraa

Sputnik News – May 26, 2018

The region of Daraa is enjoying a ceasefire negotiated after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in July 2017. The region, known as the “cradle of the revolution” during the Arab Spring in 2011, is now mostly controlled by numerous anti-government organizations.

The US State Department issued a statement late Friday saying it was “concerned” by leaflets, which were reportedly dropped by government aircraft in the province of Daraa. According to reports circulating among pro-opposition monitors, the leaflets called on the militants to stop fighting and reconcile with the Syrian government, otherwise they would allegedly “gamble their lives” and head to “inevitable death.”

“We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire,” said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, noting that the ceasefire had been reaffirmed by Washington and Moscow last November. “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” she added.

https://sputniknews.com

Syria declares truce before Trump-Putin talks

DEBKAfile – July 3, 2017

The Syrian army Monday July 3 suddenly declared a ceasefire in the fierce fighting with rebel forces in the southern districts on the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

This was just one of three unexpected events occurring in this embattled part of Syria in the last 24 hours:

1. The ceasefire Damascus said would be in force up until Wednesday, July 6 covers all the active battlefronts in the South: Daraa just 1 km from the Jordanian border: Quneitra – from which Syrian military mortars flew across into the Golan all last week; and Suwaydeh which lies east of Daraa.

Oddly enough, the ceasefire was not announced until Monday afternoon, although it went into effect Sunday midnight without notice.  According to our sources, the Russians most likely had to twist President Bashar Assad’s arm to overcome his refusal to order his army to stop fighting. And then too he would only accept a four-day pause before resuming combat.

2.  The announcement coincided with a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian diplomats in the Kazakh capital of Astana to discuss the carving out of four de-escalation zones in Syria, one of which is southern Syria, where the ceasefire went into force.

3. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that this step is the first visible sign of an initial understanding reached by American and Russian officers in secret talks Saturday, July 1, in Amman. They discussed the ceasefire in the South for paving the way for establishing a demilitarized zone in eastern Syria.

http://www.debka.com