Russian anti-ISIS war from Syria to Caucasus
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
In a supreme effort to prevent ISIS suicide units from reaching Russia from Syria, Sergei Shoigu, Russia's
Defense Minister, has promoted the Russian commander in Syria, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov. to an expanded command as head of the South Russia military district.
This district covers Russian forces including naval units in the Black and Caspian Seas, the Fourth Air Force Defense Army and Russian bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia. Gen. Dvornikov will also command tens of ground force divisions, including paratroopers, marines and special coastal defense units.
The fact that the Russian Defense Ministry emphasizes in its announcement that "The decision about the appointment of a new commander of the Syrian operation is pending," indicates that General Dvornikov will remain in charge of Russian forces in Syria from his new Black Sea HQ. His deputy, Gen.-Lt. Alexander Zhuravlyev, will continue to serve under him in the Syrian arena.
Moscow's realignment of its military command is taken by DEBKAfile's military and counter terrorism sources as a step towards becoming the first world power outside the Middle East to recognize and address the trans-frontier, global character of the Islamic peril, a lesson drawn from ISIS suicide attacks in Paris, Brussels, the US, Tunisia Egypt and Turkey.
Unimpressed by President Barack Obama's optimistic assertions about ISIS' loss of territory and weakening state, the Kremlin judges the counter-terror war to be just beginning. Russian intelligence has found the group to be in full fighting mode and setting up an army of suicide bombers, each team numbering some 20-15 terrorists, ready for strikes in Europe, including Russia, and the Middle East.
This is borne out by the information released in Ankara by Turkish intelligence sources on July 11, showing that since the bombing in Istanbul airport, on June 28, in which 42 people were killed, ISIS has discontinued its passageway through Turkey for suicide terrorists trained in Syria to reach Europe. They are now smuggling terrorists across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Cyprus.
This Turkish announcement has serious implications:
First, that the ISIS' use of Azerbaijan and Georgia as way stations for its suicide squads points to its presence on the Black Sea coast right up to Russia's frontier. This region has now passed to the command of Gen. Dvornikov..
Second, that Turkish intelligence can confirm Russian information about large squads of suicide terrorists gearing up for multiple attacks, some of which are already on-site of their targets, with back-up teams in case the first misses out.
The impending massive invasion of suicide terrorists to Europe and the Middle East was, according to DEBKAfile's sources, an important item on the agenda of the recent meeting between Yossi Cohen, head of the Israeli Mossad, and Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov, head of the Russian SVR, that took place on July 1, at the Russian organization's Yasenevo HQ outside Moscow.