Syrian forces backed by tanks stormed Daraya, on the outskirts of Damascus, on Thursday after 24 hours of artillery and helicopter bombardment to drive out rebels, opposition sources said.
The bombardment killed at least 15 people and wounded 150 in Daraya, situated on the southwest edge of Damascus, the sources said.
US C130 transports stand ready at Middle East air bases to fly into Syria US elite units especially trained in combat against chemical and biological weapons and tactics for securing their arsenals. Western intelligence sources reported Thursday, Aug. 23 that those units are on standby at bases in Israel and Jordan. Their assignments are to engage Syrian troops attempting to move those unconventional weapons systems to battle fronts or Hizballah and to prevent them falling into the hands of radical Islamic rebel fighters, especially Al Qaeda.Those elite units have been issued with special equipment for chemical and biological warfare including anti-contamination suits. The transports are also fitted with purification equipment for operating in polluted terrain.Some - though not all - of the targeted stockpiles of shells and missile warheads are located around centers of the fiercest fighting in Syria’s civil war such as Aleppo in the north. They may be inadequately guarded since the Syrian ruler may have been forced to throw the units securing them into battle against rebel forces.American military involvement in the Syrian conflict has to all intents and purposes begun and looks like expanding in the coming days.This is a sharp reversal of the military situation in the Middle East. It could lead to all-out warfare exploding in Syria possibly involving Hizballah ahead of a strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons, although this strike could unfold from the Syrian campaign - during its course or at its conclusion.
Israel is unlikely to provide much if any advance notice to the United States if it attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, Middle East experts say.The assumption is that U.S. warning of an Israeli attack would come "significantly less than an hour" before it began, said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.Danny Danon, deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament, said an Israeli strike against multiple targets spread across Iran would likely last several days and would not be quick strikes, such as the attacks on Syria and Iraq. He said he hopes the United States joins in, but says Israel will go it alone if necessary.
While the world persists in looking for signs of pragmatism in the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsy is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country.Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men – officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he turned his attention to the media, replacing 50 editors working for the government’s extensive and influential press empire – including Al- Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhuria. He is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country.Drafting the new constitution is their next objective. Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly.The Muslim Brotherhood is fast assuming total control.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit next week, defying objections from Israel, the United States and Jewish groups worldwide to boycott the event
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged Ban to refrain from attending the summit saying it would be a “horrible mistake.”
“Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” Netanyahu told Ban.
On Monday US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also called on Ban to boycott the conference saying, “Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies.”
David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, issued a statement saying “we are stunned” that Ban “would honor a regime that consistently ignores both him and the world body he heads in ways that threaten regional and global security.”
Egypt’s recent military buildup on the Sinai Peninsula was not agreed upon with Israel and violates a peace treaty between the two countries, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.“Today, the [amount of] forces and the armament deployed on Sinai have not been agreed upon with us and go beyond the frames of the military protocol signed in Camp David. We insist that everything must be shaped back in line with the protocol,” Lieberman said in an interview with the Israeli TV Channel Nine.The 1979 peace treaty with Israel, signed in U.S. Camp David, limits Egypt's military presence in the area. The treaty also requires that any sort of military operation inside the Sinai should be carried out in cooperation with the Israelis.Egyptian military buildup in an area Israel considers a strategic buffer zone has sparked concerns in Israel that Egypt may use its anti-terrorist operation as a way of retaining its military strength in Sinai.