DEBKAfile Exclusive: Syria placed its army on war preparedness, pointed Scuds at Israel from Thursday, July 20, the day Tehran took control of Lebanon War
July 22, 2006, 12:27 PM (GMT+02:00)
Our sources add Syrian fighter pilots are sitting in their cockpits.
These orders went out from Syrian president Bashar Assad July 20 when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander Brig.-Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi (picture) assumed command of the Lebanon war from Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Tehran’s direct military intervention in the conflict was accompanied by an Iranian weapons airlift which began landing Wednesday, July 19, at the Abu Ad Duhur military airfield north of Homs. The deliveries include large quantities of new missiles, including the long-range Zelzal and Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 missiles, Katyusha rockets, anti-tank and anti-air missiles sent out from RG HQ in Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf.
Assad acted on the assumption that Israel, whose air force and ground forces are already hammering the cross-border supply routes north of the Litani River to block the passage of Iranian hardware to Hizballah, will soon decide to go for Iranian military operations in Damascus and Abu Ad Duhur.
Gen. Safavi has set up two forward command posts which coordinate war operations with Hizballah chief of staff Ibrahim Akil.
One center is working out of a cellar of the Iranian embassy in Beirut to regulate Hizballah rocket fire against Israel and direct the groups of 3 or 4 RG officers taking part in every Hizballah face-to-face engagement with Israeli ground troops in the south.
The second, housed in the basement of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, is in charge of communications, intelligence and getting hardware into Lebanon.
The deliveries were made to the Abu Ad Duhur airfield because it belongs to the joint Iranian-Syrian Scud missile factory which employs a large number of Iranian
engineers and technicians.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that some of the Iranian arms have Hizballah in Lebanon notwithstanding intense Israeli cutoff operations and their impact will probably be palpable in the coming days.