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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Syrian Army’

Report: Israel Attacked Missile Stocks at Syrian Military Base

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl reported Tuesday that the Israeli air force over the weekend attacked a military installation south of Homs, with an air defense division and a compound of an air defense school of the Syrian Army. According to the report, the Israeli planes did not train their rockets at the air defense systems but focused on the base warehouses, which were stocked with anti-aircraft missiles. The attack resulted in major damage to the stocks.

According to reports, the Israeli airforce planes flew very low above the region, and were exposed throughout the attack to the defense systems, but the Syrians apparently held back and did not fire at the attackers.

The Homs area is a war theater involving President Assad’s forces, rebel forces and ISIS troops, but Zaman Al Wasl, which has a reputation for reliable reports, insists the attackers were Israeli.

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

This would be the first attack ordered by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Tuesday visited the northern front with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and senior officers in the Northern Command.

During the tour, Liberman said, “I’ve been hearing today reviews of this region, which is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and secure hands.” He noted: “We have no plans here other than to maintain the quiet, I hope everyone understands this well enough, including our neighbors, and in any case I don’t suggest for anyone to try and test us.”

David Israel

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Oops! Russian Air Force Bombs Iranian Forces in Syria

Friday, May 13th, 2016

According to the Iranian Al-Alam TV, the Russian air force accidentally bombed Iranian forces stationed in Aleppo, Syria.

It appears this incident happened as Syrian army and friends (Hezbollah, Iran) were launching a new offensive against the Free Syrian Army and al-Nusra front who control areas of northern Aleppo.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Russia Refusing to Deliver S-300 Missiles to Syria, But Iran Gets Hers Ahead of Schedule

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Russia is not going to deliver the S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria, according to Alexander Fomin, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), who spoke to the press on Tuesday, TASS reported.

“There are no such plans as of today,” Fomin said, in response to a question regarding Russian negotiations with the Assad regime on selling them the missile systems.

Meanwhile, according to Fomin, Russia is already supplying the S-300 missile systems to Iran—ahead of schedule—and is in talks with Tehran on purchases of additional military equipment. “We have contracts with Iran, other contracts are also possible, but the talk is only about the permitted supplies, which are not on the UN’s ban list.”

On April 11, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in a radio interview with Ekho Moskvy that Russia had started deliver of S-300 systems to Iran, with the deal to be completed by the end of the year. “We are acting in strict compliance with the contract. They pay, we sell. We have already started. It is a supply in full sets,” he said.

Russia and Iran signed a contract in 2007 for the supply of five S-300PMU-1 battalions, but then, in 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev banned the supply of the systems to Tehran, following a deal with Israel which compensated Russia by promising not to compete with Russian natural gas in Europe. The Iran contract, worth more than $800 million, was annulled and the paid advance was returned to Iran, which filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia at the Geneva Court of Arbitration. That suit has now been cancelled.

The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. It is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently in operation. An evolved version of the S-300 system, the S-400, entered limited service in 2004.

In 2014, the Syrian government requested Moscow to supply the S-300 air defense missile systems to the Syrian army in anticipation of “a possible US attack” on Syria.

According to a source in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Russia received intelligence from Israel a year ago that Tehran had violated an agreement with Moscow not to pass on advanced Russian-made weaponry to the terror group Hezbollah, its proxy in Lebanon. President Putin was handed intelligence from Israel showing that Iran had supplied Hezbollah with Russian-made SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems.

According to Al Jarida, Russia confirmed this information with surveillance flights over Lebanon and Syria, using their own anti-missile radars to detect the systems which had been moved to Lebanon.

David Israel

Hezbollah Strategy: Paralyze Politics in Lebanon

Monday, September 21st, 2015

(JNi.media) A Hezbollah official said on Sunday that his party is willing to wait a thousand years for the election of a strong president—this while efforts to resolve the country’s 4-month Cabinet crisis finally looked like they were bearing fruit, YA Libnan reported.

“Whoever wants to buy time to bring us a president who is not strong is wasting the country’s time. We will wait for a thousand years in order to get a president of this type,” said the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad at a ceremony in south Lebanon.

“We want a president who is nationally chosen, we don’t want names that are circulated in the corridors of the embassies of foreign countries. Simply and honestly, we want a president who enjoys the support of his community and has a sovereign mind and a patriotic spirit,” Raad demanded.

According to YA Libnan, Hezbollah officially backs the candidacy of General Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the largest party in the Christian half of parliament. But Aoun is far from appealing to Hezbollah.

As Prime Minister, Aoun declared “The Liberation War” against the Syrian Occupation in March 1989. In October 1990, the Syrian Army invaded Beirut killing hundreds of unarmed soldiers and civilians. General Aoun fled to France. He returned to Lebanon in 2005, eleven days after the withdrawal of Syrian troops. In 2006, as head of the FPM, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah.

Article 24 of the Constitution of Lebanon, in an attempt to maintain equality between Christians and Muslims, mandates that half the seats shall be given to Christians and half to Muslims.

Aoun wants his son-in-law, Brig. Gen. Shamel Roukoz, head of the Army’s Commando Unit, to become Army commander. But Defense Minister Samir Moqbel extended the term of the current Army chief, Gen. Jean Kahwagi. FPM now conditions its own joining the political process on securing the job for Roukoz.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam said on Saturday that “the Cabinet is not paralyzed,” it’s only on a hiatus until Salam returns from his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26. He plans to remain in New York until Sept. 30.

Hezbollah and Amal are the two major Shiite political parties in Lebanon. Hezbollah It holds 14 of the 128 seats in Parliament and is a member of the Resistance and Development Bloc. According to Daniel L. Byman, it’s “the most powerful single political movement in Lebanon.”

JNi.Media

Hezbollah Distributing Gas Masks to Fighters at Syrian Front

Monday, July 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) Eyewitnesses have reported that Hezbollah forces in Al-Zabadani, on Lebanon’s border with southwestern Syria, have begun distributing gas masks to their fighters on this front.

Apparently, the Hezbollah Command estimates that as their pressure on ISIS rebel forces besieged in Al-Zabadani increases, so will the chance that ISIS will try more desperate measures to alleviate the pressure.

In May and June, ISIS forces launched a surprise, fierce attack on Hezbollah forces in Jabal Qalamun, some 45 miles east of Al-Zabadani, in order to force Hezbollah to move troops from Zabadani to Qalamun, to eases the pressure on the defenders of Zabadani.

The fighting between Hezbollah and ISIS has become an all-out, savage war, without rules or restrictions, and there have been several unconfirmed reports that ISIS is using chemical weapons against its opponents in Syria.

Back in February, Islamist fighters in Libya captured chemical weapons from storage areas in southern and central parts of the country, according to several reports in the Arab media. A Libyan military official told the London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat that “before his death, Gaddafi left approximately one thousand cubic tons worth of material used for manufacturing chemical weapons and about 20,000 cubic tons of mustard gas.”

Those stockpiles also included the nerve agent Sarin, the Syrian Army’s favorite last-resort weapon. It was estimated at the time that some of the Libyan chemical weapons found their way to Hezbollah hands, as well as to the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah casualties in Al-Zabadani are mounting, according to reports, and the organization has inaugurated a new cemetery near the town.

The “Syrian Rebels Gathering” Facebook page published the list of casualties in Syria for the holy month of Ramadan that just ended, a month when, traditionally, wars are not waged.

1,689 were killed in Syria during Ramadan, 1,394 of them civilians, 176 children. These figures do not include non-Syrian combatants.

Some estimates suggest Hezbollah casualties in Syria have reached 1,000 as of last June.

JNi.Media

The Ramifications of ISIS’ Conquest of Palmyra

Monday, June 1st, 2015

I first got to visit the magnificent ancient site of Palmyra on a family trip as a teenager. Getting to the desert town by car was, back in the nineties an absurdly arduous journey with only a single two-lane road connecting it to the rest of Syria. But the ancient Roman ruins more than made up for the difficult trip. Experiencing their splendor first hand, I could see why their images featured prominently on Syria’s currency.

Years later, I made a point of taking my younger brothers to visit the ruins once they were old enough to appreciate them. Fifteen years after my first visit, the road to Palmyra was still as atrocious as ever, and the nearby town of Tadmor hadn’t developed much in the intervening years, but the ruins themselves were as magnificent as ever. Had they been more accessible, they would have rivaled Egypt’s Pyramids for sheer number of visitors.

Sadly, the ancient city would eventually succumb to the ravages of the conflict tearing Syria apart, and the town of Tadmor, with its population having swelled to five times its pre-conflict numbers with displaced persons, has fallen to Da’esh — the Islamic State (ISIS). The prospects for both the town’s inhabitants and its famous ruins could not be any bleaker, judging by ISIS’ past behavior in Iraq and the east of Syria.

It is impossible to overstate the dire implications of the Islamic State’s conquest of the city. Culturally, Palmyra has been the crown jewel of Syria’s heritage; its loss is akin to the United Kingdom losing Stonehenge.

Militarily and strategically, ISIS’ control of this central Syrian city is a monumental and disastrous setback to all the efforts undertaken to defeat the extremist group. Despite being subjected to months of air bombardments on the part of an American-led coalition, ISIS is now well positioned to strike at Syria’s major population centers in the western provinces of Homs, Hama and Damascus.

In theory, the armies of Bashar Assad based in Tadmor should have been able to easily fend off any conceivable attack by ISIS. The place is surrounded by open desert, supplied by a nearby airport, with a garrison at Tadmor’s infamous prison, a place that, pre-conflict, represented the worse horrors and brutalities of the Baathist dictatorship, but had since been surpassed by dozens of equally brutal prisons and dungeons all over the country. It put the Syrian Army in the enviable position of defending against an ISIS force that was far from its main areas of control, with highly vulnerable and exposed supply lines. The logistics of the battle were heavily in favor of the regime.

But the Syrian Army’s sudden and unexpected collapse in the face of ISIS’ offensive serves to illustrate the high toll the conflict has taken on the army and the degree to which it has been degraded as a fighting force. The regime’s swift defeat also highlights the unfortunate fact that ISIS remains very much a dangerous force.

Tadmor was the first town that the extremist group managed to conquer directly from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. For years, the regime had comforted itself with the fact that ISIS’ main focus was to battle rebel brigades in areas the regime considered to be of secondary strategic importance.

With its conquest of Tadmor, ISIS can no longer be regarded as a group whose influence is confined to the periphery of the country. The regime’s collapse at Tadmor — despite its strategic advantages in the area — is the final nail in the coffin of the idea that a Western alliance with Assad can jointly take on the Islamic State.

Aboud Dandachi

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-ramifications-of-isis-conquest-of-palmyra/2015/06/01/

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