Western intelligence sources, reports Thursday, June 28, that the Republican Guard battalion commander charged with the Syrian president’s security is keeping Bashar Assad shut away in his “Unity” palace. Assad and his family may not leave the building without the commander’s permission under an order current since the second half of last week. It is not clear to whom the commander defers in this case and who in fact actually determines whether Assad can come or go.
Asked by debkafile if an element in the Republican Guard ordered the palace placed under siege to prevent the president and his family fleeing, those Western sources replied that the situation could be described as a “partial siege” which is constantly expanding. They added, in response to another question about the Syrian ruler’s freedom of movement, that neither Assad nor members of his family are able to leave the palace to go anywhere and they are aware of the restrictions placed on their movements.
"Because of the partial siege and these restrictions," said those intelligence sources, "Assad and his wife are both in very low spirits and the atmosphere inside the palace is very bleak."
The video clips showing the Syrian president and his wife Asma happily playing badminton in the palace grounds were released this week by the regime’s propaganda arm – apparently to belie the rumors spreading in Damascus about the first family’s virtual imprisonment in their own palace.
In fact, say the sources, “"Inside the palace, Assad and his family are so mistrustful of their immediate circle that food tasters are on hand in to partake in advance of all the food and drink served them.” The tasters belong to the elite unit of Syrian military intelligence. They were brought in after at least two attempts by Syrian rebel associates to sneak poisoned food into the palace. It was discovered before causing harm or even death.
"Bashar Assad won’t even drink a glass of water unless his personal food taster first swallows at least a quarter of its contents."
It is important to note, said the Western sources, that access to the Assad palace on Mt. Qaisoun on the outskirts of Damascus is gained only through two underground roads which are fortified against aerial bombardment and invisible to spies in the sky. The two roads serve the separate entrance and exit from the palace.
All vehicles using the roads, including supply trucks, belong to Syrian intelligence services. The drivers and porters unloading the vehicles – although intelligence personnel - are all closely watched at all times, starting with detailed inspections when they arrive at the entrance to one of the roads.
The rebels’ success in planting poison in one of those closely vetted supply trucks attests to their success in penetrating some of the layers of security protecting the persons of the president and his family.
Gulf sources report US, Gulf armies on high alert pending Syria action
This military alert is reported Thursday by various Gulf sources, including the US military, pending a strike against Syria in two days. This report, according to which NATO forces are about to move to Turkey, is not confirmed by any official source. US forces in the Gulf are apparently on forward positions and high alert, as are Saudi Special Forces and National Guard. Israel too is reported in mobilization. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is said to be preparing an extraordinary parliament session to authorize Syria intervention.
The same unconfirmed sources cite Saturday as the day of the NATO attack, when in Geneva, the UN Action Group hold its first meeting to approve a transitional unity government in Damascus. The five UN Security Council powers, the EU and Arab League are represented, but not Iran or Saudi Arabia.
US and Russia back Annan’s unity government proposal for Syria
The proposal, which other powers have promised to back, will be aired at a meeting of the UN Action Group on Syria in Geneva Saturday. UN peace envoy Kofi Annan proposes a national unity government for Syria’s transition comprising present cabinet plus opposition members - but excluding those whose presence would harm the purpose of reconciliation and stability.
The Geneva parley will be attended by the five UN Security Council members, the European Union, Arab League members Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. Significantly uninvited are Iran and Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she has "great hope" that an upcoming Geneva meeting of world powers can be a turning point in the Syria crisis.
Hamas member killed in Syria, Assad regime suspected
A Hamas member was killed Wednesday in a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus. The victim was Kamal Hussein Ghannaje. "A group of people entered his home in Qudsaya ... where he was liquidated," said a Hamas official who accused Mossad of being behind the assassination." However, the Syrian opposition pointed the finger at the regime's Shabiha militia. Assad hosted the Palestinian radical movement's headquarters in Damascus for years, they explained, and felt betrayed when most of its leaders turned tail instead of supporting him against the uprising against him.
Ghannaje was one of the deputies of Mahmoud Abdel Raouf Al-Mabhuh, a senior Hamas military commander found dead in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.
Iran, Saudis not invited to Syria crisis talks Saturday
The meeting in Geneva next Saturday, initiated by UN peace envoy Kofi Annan, will be attended by the five UN Security Council members, the European Union, Iraq for the Arab League, Kuwait and Qatar. Significantly uninvited are Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Forces on full mobilization after Turkish Pres tel call to King Abdulla of imminent strike on Syria. All leave canceled.مرابطة 100% من الدرجة الأولى حالة تأهب قصوى لعموم القوات المسلحه السعودية الله يستر
Apparently US forces in Gulf on forward positions and high alert. Targets in Syria pin pointed for strike. Israel on mobilization tooعاجل: استنفار جميع القوات الامريكية بالخليج ووضعها في حالة حرب مع دخول كاسحات الالغام الى الخليج
different reports say there's an unsual activity within the Saudi Military & they're getting themselves ready 4 unknown reasons
יحالة تأهب عسكرية منذ الخامسة فجراً في السعودية ..هُناك أخبار تقول بأن ضربة سوريا خلال يومين ..قوات الناتو على وشك التحرّك الى تركيا ". Saudi King Abdullah has reportedly ordered the security forces to be on a state of high alert due to what Riyadh considers the tense situation in the Middle East. Reports say King Abdullah has issued the order over what he claims to be “foreign or terrorist attacks.” http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=325334 http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/06/28/248337/saudi-king-orders-state-of-high-alert
Turkish MPs are collecting signatures for an extraordinary meeting in case Parliament authorizes Turkish gov't for Syria intervention
Tonight our brothers in the Saudi Special Forces and National Guard are on heightened alert. Allah keep them safe and give them strength.: القوات الجوية السعودية في حالة تأهب على الدرجة القصوى ( الحالة رقم ١ ) وألغت اجازات منسوبيها المصدر : أحد منسوبي القوات الجوية بالسعوديةUrgent: National Guard troops and security procedure on alert since morning and join now all the forces of the Ministry of defence confirmed across Saudi Arabia/عاجل : قوات الحرس الوطني والأمن الداخي في حالة تأهب منذ الصباح وتنضم الآن جميع قوات وزارة الدفاع في عموم المملكة العربية السعودية / مؤكد
Two US nuclear subs patrolling Med Sea off the coast of Israel. High alert, in case Turkey decides to act.
The Local Coordination Commitees in Syria: Thursday drew to a close with the fall of 139 martyrsأعلنت كتيبة دمشق عاصمة الأمويين التابعة للجيش الحر عن نجاحها بتنفيذ عملية نوعية من خلال أسر ضابطين كبيرين من الجيش والمخابرات وهما : اللواء الطيار فرج شحادة المقت قائد مقر القيادة المركزي ( أكبر رتبة يتم إلقاء القبض عليها منذ بداية الثورة ) العميد الركن منير أحمد شليبي شعبة المخابرات فرع فلسطين قسم مكافحة الإرهاب