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.
The South Russia military district is massive. It covers Russian forces there and includes naval units in the Black and Caspian Seas. It also includes the Fourth Air Force Defense Army and Russian bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia. General Dvornikov will also command tens of ground force divisions, including paratroopers, marines and special coastal defense units.
In making the announcement, Russia's Defense Ministry emphasized that a “decision about the appointment of a new commander of the Syrian operation is pending.” What this means is that General Dvornikov will remain in charge of Russian forces in Syria from his new Black Sea HQ. His deputy, Lieutenant General Alexander Zhuravlyev, will continue to serve under him in the Syrian arena.
What does it mean? DEBKAfile’s military and counter terrorism sources see it as Moscow stepping up as 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 ISIS to be in full fighting mode. It is setting up an army of suicide bombers, each team numbering some 15 to 20 terrorists. They are being deployed for strikes in Europe, including Russia, and the Middle East.
Russia's analysis of ISIS is borne out by the information released by Turkish intelligence sources on 11 July. That intelligence shows that, since the bombing in Istanbul airport on 28 that killed 42 people, ISIS has discontinued sending its Syrian-trained suicide operatives through Turkey in order to reach Europe.
Now, instead, they are now smuggling them across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Cyprus.
This Turkish intelligence has serious implications:
The FIRST implication is that ISIS envisions use of Azerbaijan and Georgia as way stations for its suicide squads. This points to an ISIS presence that is now on the Black Sea coast right up to Russia’s frontier.
This is the region has been passed to the command of General Dvornikov.
The SECOND implication is that Turkish intelligence can confirm Russian information about large squads of suicide terrorists gearing up for multiple attacks. Some of these squads are already at target sites, including back-up teams in case the first team fails.
According to DEBKAfile source, the imminent and massive invasion of suicide terrorists into Europe and the Middle East was an important item on the agenda in the recent meeting between Yossi Cohen, head of the Israel's Mossad, and his counterpart, Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, that took place on 1 July. The two men met at the Russian Intelligence group's headquarte in Yasenevo outside Moscow.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by DEBKAfile at http://debka.com/article/25537/Russian-anti-ISIS-war-from-Syria-to-Caucasus-