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Report: Russia recorded major military exports to Syria in 2011

A Syrian Pantsyr-S1 air defense system.

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States has determined an increase in major Russian arms sales to Syria amid the revolt against President Bashar Assad. The U.S. Congress has been told that the Assad regime was equipped with a range of air and coastal defense systems to Damascus in 2011. The Congressional Research Service [...]

August 8th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Mideast,Russia,Stateside,Syria,Top Stories,U.S. Intelligence | Read More »

Turkey mounts ground force exercise near Syrian border

A Turkish tank participates in an exercise at the Syrian border near Öncupınar.  /AFP

Special to ANKARA — Turkey has conducted a major military exercise along the border with Syria. The Turkish Army staged an armored and air defense exercise in the southeastern province of Kilis. The exercise included the Army’s new fleet of Israeli-upgraded M-60A3 main battle tanks. “The exercise tested skills under all conditions in both [...]

August 7th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories,Turkey | Read More »

Syrian opposition, Israel report Al Qaida presence in Golan Heights


Special to NICOSIA — Al Qaida-aligned squads have been infiltrating Syria’s Golan Heights, which neighbors Israel. Syrian opposition sources acknowledged that Al Qaida fighters were amassing a presence along the buffer zone in the Golan Heights near Israel. They said the fighters, some of them from Jordan and Libya, have formed groups meant to [...]

August 7th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Israel,Mideast,Syria,Terrorism,Top Stories | Read More »

Saudis get Jordan’s approval to transship aid to Syrian rebels

A Syrian rebel patrols after fighters occupied a military base near Aleppo.  /EPA

Special to ABU DHABI — Saudi Arabia has won Jordan’s agreement to serve as a waystation for assistance to Sunni rebels in Syria. Officials said Saudi King Abdullah won a commitment from his Jordanian counterpart to allow a large flow of equipment through the Hashemite kingdom for Syria. They said Saudi authorities were organizing [...]

August 7th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Jordan,Mideast,Saudi Arabia,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Iran to the rescue: Thousands of special ops troops said arriving in Syria

Syrian troops celebrate after the Army is said ot have cleared a neighborhood of rebels in Damascus.

Special to NICOSIA — Iran was said to have poured thousands of elite troops into Syria. The Syrian opposition said thousands of members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have arrived in Syria. Opposition sources said the Iranian troops came from special operations units, with many of them skilled in sniper and explosives. “They [...]

August 6th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Iran,Life,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Putin changes his mind again: Flotilla of warships may dock in Syria

Russian warships in the Mediterranean Sea on July 24.  /

Special to MOSCOW — Russia, in yet another revision of naval exercise plans, says its warships could dock in Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian Navy ships sent to an exercise in the Mediterranean Sea could enter Syria. The ministry said the six warships might be serviced in the Russian Navy base in [...]

August 6th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Mideast,Russia,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

CIA relying on other nations, lacks own intelligence assets in Syria

Rep. Mike Rogers: "Our intelligence agencies are playing catch-up" in Syria.   /AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States has failed to develop sufficient intelligence assets in Syria. Officials said the U.S. intelligence community has been slow to build intelligence assets during the Sunni revolt in Syria. They said such agencies as the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency have relied on foreign liaisons, particularly [...]

August 5th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Intel Brief,Mideast,Stateside,Syria,Top Stories,U.S. Intelligence | Read More »

Syria crisis marks ‘turning point’ in Jordan-U.S. relationship

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Jordan's King Abdullah on July 26 discussed the question of a political transition in "a post-Bashar Assad Syria," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.  /AFP/Yousef Allan

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States has described its defense relationship with Jordan as reaching unprecedented proportions. Officials said the U.S. military and Defense Department significantly enhanced the relationship with the Hashemite kingdom in 2012. They cited heightened intelligence exchange, increased exercises and cooperation on border security, particularly along the frontier with Syria. [...]

August 5th, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Jordan,Mideast,Stateside,Syria,Top Stories,U.S. Intelligence | Read More »

Kurdistan tensions with Baghdad increase following report of secret arms deal

KRG President Massoud Barzani.

Special to BAGHDAD — Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan was said to have signed its first arms deal with an unidentified country. The Baghdad government has determined that the Kurdish Regional Government signed a contract for a range of weapons to protect the northern Iraqi zone from foreign invasion. Officials said the arms agreement [...]

August 3rd, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Iraq,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Assad forces stop rebel advance in battle for Aleppo

Syrians climb on the rubble of the Azaz mosque and a destroyed Syrian army tank north of Aleppo on Aug. 2.  /AFP/Getty Images/Ahmad Gharabli

Special to NICOSIA — President Bashar Assad is said to have regained control over most of Syria’s largest city. Western intelligence sources said Assad’s military, through nightly ground and daily air operations, has blocked a rebel advance into Aleppo. They said rebel forces were confined to several neighborhoods on the outskirts of Aleppo, areas [...]

August 3rd, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

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