Assad masses loyal troops in Damascus after he was warned of a military coup

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By Paul Martin

DEBKAfile
January 30, 2012

According to exclusive reports reaching DEBKAfile, President Bashar Assad Sunday, Jan. 30, pulled in the Syrian Republican Guard and the 4th armored divisions commanded by his brother Maher Assad from the northern rebel centers and over to Damascus. He ordered them into battle positions in the capital for the first time in the ten month uprising after receiving an intelligence tipoff that western powers had won over one of the armored division commanders posted in the capital and persuaded him to stage a coup d’etat to topple him.

The renegade general, whose identity is unknown, was reported to be planning to take advantage of the absence of the most trusted regime troops in trouble spots across the country to lead 300 tanks into the capital and seize power.

The conspirators were planning to make their move on the night of Monday Jan. 30 or early Tuesday Jan. 31, just before the UN Security Council was to convene in New York and air plans for him to step down. The putsch would have presented its members with the accomplished fact of Assad’s overthrow by the military.
The information passed to Assad, apparently from an external source, did not name the division commander who accepted this role from Western hands. If it turns out to be true, the scheme would strongly recall the US-led NATO-Qatari-Jordanian operation for the Libyan rebels to seize power in Libya by taking Tripoli by storm in the third week of August 2011.

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Forewarned, the Syrian ruler is making every effort to ward off the threatened coup.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, aside from the Republican Guard and 4th division which Assad recalled to the capital, present there too are the 1st, 3rd and 9th armored divisions.

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