17 July 2012

The Plight of Damascus

27 Tamuz 5772

Yeshayahu 17:1 - "The harsh prophecy concerning Damascus; Behold Damascus shall be removed from being a city, and it shall be depth of ruins."

Rosh Chodesh Av is usually a time when our mourning increases, but if this really is the year of our redemption, perhaps this Rosh Chodesh could see the first actual turn around in that trend. Either that or we could find our mourning increased to levels not seen in sixty-five years, chas v'chalilah.

'Fresh clashes rock Damascus'

Shooting was reported in Baghdad Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares.

There were also reports of tanks in the south-western suburb of Midan, and clashes involving helicopters in the north and north-east of the city.

Violence is continuing to spread across Syria and in the capital Damascus....

Rebels are calling the operation, which appears to be a full-scale attack on the centre of government power, the "Damascus volcano".
...Witnesses say this is the biggest military deployment in Damascus since the 16-month uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad began.

South Damascus embattled. Syrian high command moves to fortified site
Bashar Assad has gathered in his military strength to defend his beleaguered capital, deploying armored forces to cut off central Damascus from the embattled southern districts of Meidan and Tadmon seized by the rebels Monday, July 16. A quarter of Damascus’s 1.8 million inhabitants live in those districts. debkafile’s military sources report they are now surrounded by six strengthened Allawite Shabiha militia battalions and under heavy fire.

Assad and his commanders have turned to a different tactic for defending Damascus: They allowed the rebels to occupy the southern districts with the intention of trapping them there and destroying them.

Our sources expect the ongoing heavy bombardment of the rebel concentrations there to result in a bloodbath on the horrific scale of the Bab al Amr massacre in Homs last February and March. The Syrian general staff has prepared for the last battle for Damascus by relocating its command headquarters to a well-fortified complex on Shuhada Street in the capital’s center, known as the “summer command” and normally housing the supply division.

If Damascus falls, Israel and its gas fields feared threatened
Syrian military forces were gathered in Tuesday, July 17, to save Damascus.

Tanks and armored vehicles were positioned in strength in the capital’s center and around government buildings. However, the noise and fury of battle in the Syrian capital Tuesday, July 17, were produced, debkafile’s military sources report, by six battalions of Bashar Assad’s loyal Allawite militia in clashes with the rebels who captured the two southern suburbs of Meidan and Tadmon Monday. They are trying to pound the enemy into extinction before its forces reach central Damascus.

The two beleaguered districts are home to a quarter of the capital’s 1.8 million inhabitants.

The Syrian general staff has withdrawn its command headquarters to a well-fortified complex on Shuhada Street in the capital’s center.

If Damascus falls and Assad is cornered, the entire region stands in peril of wider repercussions, because neither he nor Tehran will take defeat lying down.

debkafile’s military sources report their campaign will be paced and scaled according to the momentum of the Syrian rebels’ advance on Bashar Assad’s door-step, which could be drawn out and bloody.

On the Iranian-Hizballah list are Middle East oil installations as well as Israeli, US, Turkish, Saudi and Jordanian strategic targets.

Saturday, the Cypriot police captured a Hizballah terrorist before he could blow up an Israeli El Al flight and tourist buses in Limassol.

Tehran is feared to be focusing on the Mediterranean island as part of a plot to set Israel’s Mediterranean gas field Tamar on fire. The field is 80 kilometers west of Haifa

It would be a spectacular curtain-raiser for the closure of the Strait of Hormuz and for strikes against Gulf oil installations.

Navy Commander, Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg called last week for an extra five warships and submarines to safeguard Israel’s burgeoning gas fields at the cost of a billion dollars.

The Syrian ruler has stoked up the menace by moving out of storage missiles and shells armed with mustard gas, sarin nerve gas and cyanide stockpiled for years.

They are on operational readiness at Homs, Latakia and Aleppo and, according to Nawaf Fares,

Syrian ex-ambassador to Iraq who defected to the opposition, may already have been used against rebel concentrations.

The longer the battle for Damascus goes on, the greater the danger that the Syrian ruler will release his poison-tipped missiles against Israel, Turkey and Jordan.