DEBKAfile Special Report October 28, 2011, 10:06 AM (GMT+02:00)
In the last 48 hours, the Syrian engineering corps has laid minefields along the Jordanian, Turkish borders to cut down on the influx of weapons and armed manpower supporting the anti-Assad opposition and the outflow of army deserters. debkafile's military sources add: By this action, Syria aims to seal itself off against foreign military intervention by Arab or NATO troops.
Syrian troops were sighted this week sowing mines along the northern bank of the Yarmouk River which marks the Syrian-Jordanian frontier. They started at the juxtaposition of the Syrian, Israeli and Jordan borders thereby linking the newly mined sector to the existing field on Syria's Golan boundary with Israel.
The mines on the Lebanese frontier were laid near the northern Lebanese villages of Knaysseh and Al-Hnayder and on both sides of the border near Heet and Buwayt. On the Turkish frontier, the Syrian minelayers went to work in the Idlib and Jebel Zawayeh regions where large numbers of officers and soldiers who defected to the rebels are concentrated.
According to our military sources, Turkey recently boosted its direct intervention in the Syrian uprising. The rebel military commands permitted to operate from its soil have now received permission to start recruiting Syrian army deserters and volunteers, bring them over for short training stints and send them back armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), automatic weapons and hand grenades.
The new Syrian minefield is intended to put a stop to this traffic.
Bashar Assad is reported by our sources to have started acting like a hunted man since Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi's violent death. Apparently haunted by that event, he fears the expanding volume of weapons smuggled into Syria is providing infrastructure for a NATO-backed Arab military operation in support of the uprising.
Thursday, Oct. 27, the Qatari chief of staff Gen. Hamad bin Ali Atiya admitted for the first time that the emirate had injected ground troops into the Libyan conflict: "We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region," he said.
He did not disclose how they were brought into Libya. debkafile's military sources report that they were transported by American military freighter planes. Inside Libya, Qatar established a mobile command center which moved around with the troops. The Qatari foot soldiers were not alone. Jordanian special forces also fought with the rebels in Libya.
Since Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies are organizing and funding the arms consignments smuggled into Syria, military and intelligence chiefs in Damascus fear that the next stage will be incursions by Saudi, Qatari and Jordanian special forces to team up with the indigenous rebels.
There has been no official comment from the Syrian government on Qaddafi's death, but opposition activists have gone to town on it. This week, they ordered demonstrators to turn out in force Friday, Oct. 28, and to call on NATO to declare Syria a no-fly zone to prevent its air force attacking rebels. That was how Western military intervention in Libyan began last March.