Syrian military forces were gathered in Tuesday, July 17, to save Damascus.
Tanks and armored vehicles were positioned in strength in the capital’s center and around government buildings. However, the noise and fury of battle in the Syrian capital Tuesday, July 17, were produced, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, by six battalions of Bashar Assad’s loyal Allawite militia in clashes with the rebels who captured the two southern suburbs of Meidan and Tadmon Monday. They are trying to pound the enemy into extinction before its forces reach central Damascus.
The two beleaguered districts are home to a quarter of the capital’s 1.8 million inhabitants.
The Syrian general staff has withdrawn its command headquarters to a well-fortified complex on Shuhada Street in the capital’s center.
If Damascus falls and Assad is cornered, the entire region stands in peril of wider repercussions, because neither he nor Tehran will take defeat lying down.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report their campaign will be paced and scaled according to the momentum of the Syrian rebels’ advance on Bashar Assad’s door-step, which could be drawn out and bloody.
On the Iranian-Hizballah list are Middle East oil installations as well as Israeli, US, Turkish, Saudi and Jordanian strategic targets.