British forces in Syria, Assad presidential compound said under attack (DEBKAfile) Exclusive Report 06/26/12 11:59 AM (GMT+02:00)
Unconfirmed first reports from British, French and Turkish sources
say British special operations forces crossed from Turkey into
northern Syria Tuesday, May 26, and advanced up to 10 kilometers
inside the country. The same sources report heavy fighting around the
Presidential Guards compound on the outskirts of Damascus.
DEBKAfile’s military sources note that this compound exists to defend
Bashar Assad’s presidential palace on Mount Qaisoun overlooking
British and Gulf TV stations are again running interviews with dozens
of Syrian soldiers taken prisoner by rebel forces and transferred to
Free Syrian Army centers in South Turkey. But this time, they are
being aired in conjunction with those two developments, indicating
pivotal and coordinated military action inside the embattled country,
or even the start of western intervention against the Assad regime.
Later Tuesday, Gulf military sources confirmed the presence of
British special forces in Syria.
Our military sources estimate that the British military drive into
Syria, if confirmed, is designed to establish the first safe zone
along the Syrian-Turkish border, to be followed by more Western
military incursions to establish additional zones of safe asylum in
other parts of Syria.
This follow-up action would depend substantially on Syrian, Russian
and Iranian (+ Hizballah) responses to the initial stage of the
The reported British incursion, if confirmed, occurred at the tail
end of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 24-hour visit to Israel
Tuesday morning and would have posed a direct challenge to his
repeated warning that Moscow would not tolerate Western military
intervention in Syria and actively prevent it. Similar warnings have
issued from Tehran.
As for the timing, the double military drive against Assad also
occurred hours before a NATO “consultation” in Brussels on the
shooting down of a Turkish warplane by Syria last Friday, June 22,
which Ankara stated Monday “must not go unpunished.”
The two-pronged operation - the reported British incursion and major
clash at the front door of Assad’s presidential palace - would appear
to be designed to widen the cracks in his regime and speed its final
breakup. (Copyright 2000-2012 DEBKAfile. 06/26/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY