The Russian media Tuesday, Sept. 19 published photos of the pontoon bridges supplied by Russia to convey Syrian troops across the river to the eastern bank. It is hailed as one of the most important military feats of the Syrian war. DEBKAfile’s military sources add that Hizballah forces are part of the contingent crossing the river.
The Syrian army issued this statement Tuesday: Elite troops of the Syrian Arab Army have crossed from the western bank to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zour Governorate.
The elite “ISIS Hunters Unit” claims to be the first Syrian Army formation to reach the eastern bank.
DEBKAfile: While the rhetoric flows from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks with world leaders in New York, a profound strategic event is taking place on the Syrian-Iraqi border: Iran is winning a land corridor through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean Sea with Russian support but without the US or Israel taking any counteraction.
The river crossing with the help of Russian pontoon bridges was revealed by DEBKAfile Saturday, Sept. 16.
Iran’s new army chief, Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, threatened Monday to raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground if Israel makes any mistake. “The notion that the Zionist regime of Israel will not exist 25 years from now does not mean that it would have a full life span of 25 years,” he said. The general, who was appointed commander-in-chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army last month, added: “Israel should sit quietly and count down the days to its death, because any minor mistake would lead to its demise with the speed of lightning,” he was quoted as saying by Iran’s Tasnimnews agency.
The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said the USS Paul Jones shot down a medium-range ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in a test off Hawaii on Wednesday. The warship’s radar detected and tracked the target before intercepting it with SM-6 missiles.
MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said the test marked a “key milestone,” although it did not ease the tension caused by North Korea’s launch of a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile over Japan this week. Wednesday, Pyongyang released more details about its launch test with a video tape. Kim Jong-un said that more ballistic missile rocket launching drills are necessary to modernize his military’s strategic capabilities.
US air strike destroys bridge to impede ISIS convoy out of Lebanese border
The US air force went into action Wednesday to strike a small bridge and a road to impede an ISIS convoy allowed to leave the Lebanese border under a controversial deal with Hizballah for a truce. the jiahdists were heading for their base in Deir ez-Zour on the Iraqi border..
The US-led coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said: “We are monitoring their location in real time.” He did not rule out strikes against the approximately 300 ISIS fighters on the move. Their convoy is reported still in government-held territory in eastern Syria. Dillon stressed: “We are not party to any agreements that were made by the Lebanese Hizballah and ISIS or the (Syrian) regime.”
The top US envoy for the international coalition against ISIS, Brett McGurk, tweeted Wednesday that ISIS “terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across Syria to the Iraqi border without Iraq’s consent.” He said the coalition will help ensure that “these terrorists can never” enter Iraq. The Iraqis blasted Hizballah for “dumping the terrorists on their border instead of eradicating them.”