Beset on two fronts, Bashar Assad rushed his elite Presidential Guard Division to Damascus Thursday, May 10, as two massive car bombs in the al Qaza district of Damascus demolished the command center of the Syrian military security service’s reconnaissance division, killing 55 people and injuring more than 300. Over to the southeast, 12,000 special operations troops from 17 nations, including the US and other NATO members, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were poised on the Jordanian side of the Syrian border for an exercise codenamed “Eager Lion.”
debkafile’s military sources also disclose that the bomb attack on Damascus was the most serious his regime had suffered against a military target since the 14-month Syrian uprising began. For the first time, Assad moved his most loyal unit, the Republican Guard Brigade, into central Damascus.
Western and Arab pressure is building up to an intolerable pitch for the Syrian president to step down and save his people from the descent into the ultimate agony of a full-blown civil war. It is coming from two directions:
1. Special forces units of the US, France, Britain, Canada and other NATO members have gathered in Jordan alongside Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari special units for a large-scale ten-day military exercise in Jordan starting May 15.
The exercise was set up by the US Special Operations Command Central. It is the Obama administration’s message to the Islamic rulers of Iran, Bashar Assad and his Moscow backers, as well as its answer to the complaints from Arab and other Western governments that America is doing nothing to stop the horrors perpetrated in Syria.
Since all 12,000 troops massed in Jordan are commandos, they stand ready at all times to cross the border into Syria if this is deemed necessary.
2. Syrian cities, especially the capital, are being targeted for violent bombing attacks designed to bring the Assad regime tumbling down. Behind these attacks are Persian Gulf emirates led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose they have been joined in the last few days for the first time by Turkey which is contributing intelligence input. The military pressure on the Assad regime is thus reinforced by a campaign of terror against its props.
No connection is admitted between the multinational force on the Jordanian-Syrian border and the spate of bombings. However, if Saudi or Qatari intelligence did play a hand in the Damascus bombings, their special forces in Jordan will have been in the picture.