• Egyptian Pilots Enter Syrian Army Airbase in Hama Province

    Several Egyptian pilots have entered the Syrian army’s airbase in Hama, the Lebanese media reported, adding that Cairo has decided not to indifferent and participate in the anti-terrorism operations in Syria.

    According to al-Safir daily, the Egyptian forces have started their work in Hama airbase since November 12 and a group of 18 pilots have also jointed them, mostly helicopter pilots.

    The paper said it is not clear if the Egyptian pilots have started airstrikes in Syria or not but their presence at Hama airbase shows that Egypt has made its decision to speed up aid to the Syrian government.

    According to the daily, the first group of 4 high-ranking Egyptian officers entered Syria and were deployed in the Syrian army’s general staff base in Damascus, adding that two Egyptian Major Generals have started work in the Syrian army’s operations room since a month ago, and their responsibility is leading reconnaissance operations, the latest of which was in Quneitra in Southern Syria, the Golan Heights and Daraa.

    The Lebanese paper quoted Arab sources as saying that Cairo is also studying dispatch of its ‘Thunder Forces’ to Syria to help the army more extensively in operations.

    It also quoted senior Syrian security sources as saying that the Egyptians have promised Damascus to send their forces to Syria and will start massive participation in battles in Syria on January 23, adding that Cairo’s military presence will go beyond its role in Hama airbase.

    Reports said earlier this month that a group of officers from the Egyptian army traveled to the Syrian port-city of Tartous on Tuesday to train with Russian military advisors near the ISIS front-lines, media reports said.

    Al-Masdar News quoted local activists as saying that the Egyptian officers were accompanied by Russian military personnel upon their arrival in Tartous on Tuesday.

    A social media activist, Ivan Sidorenko, wrote on his twitter page that a Syrian army officer has told him that the Egyptian officers came to gain experience in tunnels and guerrilla warfare, while another activist, Izat Savetheplanet, quoted a trustable source as claiming that secret coordination between the Syrian and Egyptian militaries will soon go formal.

    Tensions were high in relations between Cairo and Riyadh in the past few weeks after the Egyptian envoy at the UN gave a yes vote to Russia’s proposed plan on Aleppo.

    The UN Security Council voted on two rival resolutions. One was drafted by France demanding an end to air strikes and the implementation of a no-fly zone, while the Russian resolution urged for a ceasefire but made no mention of the French clause.

    Egypt was joined by Russia, China and Venezuela in its support for the Russian resolution.

    Egypt also voted for the French resolution that demanded an end to all aerial bombardment and overflights of Aleppo by Russia and Syrian government aircraft.

    Meanwhile, Major General Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syria’s National Security Bureau, also paid an official one-day visit to the Egyptian capital city of Cairo in October and held talks with senior Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss the matter.

    He met, among others, with Major General Khaled Fawzy, the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.

    The two sides reached an agreement on coordinating political standpoints and improving mutual cooperation in the combat against terrorism during the talks.

    While Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Persian Gulf region, particularly Qatar, are financially and militarily supporting the militants fighting to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Egyptian officials have reiterated that the crisis in Syria can only be solved through political means, stressing that Cairo and Riyadh did not share common attitudes vis-A�-vis the ongoing crisis in Syria, FNA reported.

    Source: Al Alam

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