Just one year and a week ago during the turmoil in Egypt we considered the words of Isaiah 19 concerning "The Burden of Egypt". Today, with the nation of Syria under the siege of what appears much like another Sunni Muslim-Arab uprising, must go back and examine the words of Isaiah once again.
In chapter 17, the prophet warns of the burdens of Babylon, Moab, Egypt, Dumah and Tyre, but perhaps the best known is this:
"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.Many prophecy students today have made the assumption that Isaiah describes that the city, the buildings of Damascus will be destroyed by perhaps a nuclear explosion. But is that a mistake?
The cities of Aroer [are] forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.
And in that day it shall come to pass, [that] the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two [or] three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four [or] five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.
At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect [that] which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.
In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation. Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:
In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: [but] the harvest [shall be] a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. Woe to the multitude of many people, [which] make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, [that] make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but [God] shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
And behold at eveningtide trouble; [and] before the morning he [is] not. This [is] the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." Isaiah 17:1-14
Is the "heap" of Damascus a Biblical description of its buildings or could it perhaps be its people? After all, the prophecy tells us that cities of Aroer [are] "forsaken". This "forsaken" is the Hebrew word "azab" which means abandoned or deserted. Many security experts around the world believe that Damascus maintains massive stockpiles of chemical weapons, biological WMD's including mustard gas and various nerve agents that could fall into the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. We have seen al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban, now there is Jabhat al-Nusra, the Nusra Front.
On the chemical threat, NTI.org provides this interactive map and this critical commentary:
"Syria is suspected of having one of the most advanced chemical warfare (CW) capabilities in the Middle East. Syria's initial CW capability was provided by Egypt prior to the October 1973 war against Israel. Since then, Syria appears to have acquired an indigenous capability to develop and produce chemical weapons agents including mustard gas and sarin, and possibly also VX nerve agent. Chemical weapons agents have been produced since the 1980s at facilities located near the Hama, Homs, and Al-Safira villages in the Aleppo region. However, Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for some dual-use equipment and for the precursor chemicals critical to CW agent production. In recent years, Iran has been identified as a major supplier of Syrian requirements for CW-related supplies. Syria signed an agreement with Iran in 2005 that specifies, among other things, the provision of training and technical assistance to Syrian scientists and technicians and the construction of five chemical pilot plant facilities for developing and producing precursor chemicals."In August 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported this:
"WASHINGTON—The U.S. and Israel are closely monitoring Syria's suspected cache of weapons of mass destruction, fearing that terror groups could take advantage of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad to obtain blistering agents, nerve gas and long-range missiles, according to officials from both countries.According to Strong's Lexicon, Isaiah's use of the Hebrew word "iyr" that is translated here as "city" means "1) excitement, anguish a) of terror 2) city, town (a place of waking, guarded) a) city, town". The Hebrew word translated as taken away is "cuwr", it means "depart".
U.S intelligence services believe Syria's nonconventional weapons programs include significant stockpiles of mustard gas, VX and Sarin gas and the missile and artillery systems to deliver them."
This we do know, the deadly, super-toxic weapons known to exist in Syria in the form of chemical poisons like VX, Sarin and mustard gas must be keep out of the hands of terrorists. VX is ten times as lethal as the nerve gas Sarin. That is why these deadly agents are the terrorist's nuclear weapon and Damascus has never signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. The canisters of chemical death could become a massive disaster if it fell into the wrong hands of groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah or the lesser known, Syrian supported Fatah al-Islam that has been active in Lebanon.
Perhaps these gas-related munitions containing blister and nerve agents have something to do with the prophecies since the fastest way to prevent these death agents from getting into the hands of terrorists... is to burn them. Here in the U.S., Congress ordered the Pentagon to destroy our own stockpiles of chemical agents and the military decided that incineration by fire was the best option which resulted in billion dollar burn plants in Utah, Kentucky, Indiana and Alabama.
Like Isaiah, the prophet Jeremiah has something very serious to say concerning those that will flee in fear and anguish out of the capital city Damascus:
"Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; [there is] sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.In Syria today there is sectarian war between Sunni and Shia and in her memoir, a classic book first published in 1933, A Testament of Youth, author and armed services nurse Vera Brittain describes the horrific effects of mustard gas that she personally witnessed in World War I:
Damascus is waxed feeble, [and] turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on [her]: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.
And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad." Jeremiah 49:23-27
"The strain is very, very great. The enemy is within shelling distance - refugee sisters crowding in with nerves all awry - bright moonlight, and aeroplanes carrying machine guns - ambulance trains jolting into the siding, all day, all night - gassed men on stretchers clawing the air - dying men reeking with mud and foul green stained bandages, shrieking and writhing in a grotesque travesty of manhood - dead men with fixed empty eyes and shiny yellow faces."We need to consider another "key" to understanding rhe demise of Damascus is found in the word "Benhadad".
I am not a prophet but if you are like me and you read a typical English Bible translation like I have, the single word "Benhadah" may throw you a bit off track from the message that God has given Jeremiah to deliver. This is because, in English, the word seems to to read as if it is a place or a city.
But is it?
Benhadad is actually two Hebrew words: "ben-Hadad". Strong's Hebrew Bible Concordance tells us this word means: "son of [the false god] Hadad".
This is important because the first mention of Syria in the Bible is in Judges 10:6 and it is all about the false gods of Syria. Take notice, ben-Hadad is the standing title of all the Syrian kings that passed their government authority from father to son, it's meaning "the son of Hadad" gives us the clue that we need to understand history if we are to understand the times and what lies ahead.
The ancient fact is that in Biblical times, just as today, Syrian kings stood in opposition against "Israel", the people that followed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of "Israel". Take note, Syria has been in a state of emergency rule since 1963, which its government has justified by its "state of war" with Israel, and the government has used this declaration to suspend its citizens’ constitutional rights for the past 39 years.
So ask yourself, who rules Syria today?
None other than a modern day "ben-Hadad" named Bashar al-Assad who is the son of Hafez al-Assad, the man whose rule began November 21, 1970, ruled Syria with an iron fist for 29 years until his death. Twenty years ago, Hafez al-Assad carried out the Hama massacre in February 1982, when the Syrian army conducted military ops against the Sunni Muslim community of Hama. The estimates for the loss of life there range from 10,000 to 40,000 depending on the source. Other atrociousness includes the Tadmor Prison Massacre, the Siege of Aleppo, the Tel al-Zaatar Massacre and the execution of hundreds of Lebanese soldiers (men of war) that surrendered to al-Assad's troops in 1990, it is known as the October 13 Massacre.
Like father like son, on July 31, 2011 the Syrian army entered the city of Hama, firing on the public, and killing over 100 civilians in what has been now named the Ramadan Massacre.
As in the days of "ben-Hadad", father and son have now ruled Syria for just over 40 years. Forty is the number related to judgment periods throughout Scripture, the number cannot be taken lightly especially in what we see in the Arab Spring. Forty will repeat in what we will see in the coming days and months in Syria. My prayer is that perhaps this fact alone will cause you to turn to The Lord, your Savior. But why 40?
Forty years was the time period that President Muhammad Anwar El Sadat and President Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak also ruled in Egypt before the Arab uprisings last February in Cairo, just one year ago. Sadat assumed power in Egypt on October 15, 1970. Now, the Muslim Brotherhood with a 47% seat position in Egypt's new parliament and the Salafists with 25% are set to rule Egypt with "the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king" as the lens of the ancient prophecy of Isaiah 19 noted in "The Burden of Egypt" comes into sharper focus. In nearby Libya, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Ghadafi's rule ended on October 20, 2011, just 41 years after it began on September 1, 1969.
Jeremiah's prophecy notes fire in a palace, that too is very important, after all there is no idle word, no wasted space in the Bible, every detail, every word is important. So, it is up to us to study to find out why and the cipher as always is held within the Hebrew language of the Bible.
And where is the "palace" of of today's Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad?
It is massive and sits right on top of a high hill overlooking the capital city of Damascus. You can easily see the massive "Republican Palace" using Google Earth or Google Maps. Just type in “Damascus, Syria” and zoom in on the massive building, sitting 400 feet above the ancient city. It is the home of the leader of Syria's Ba'athist government and simple enough, it is called a palace.
Also consider this. With the fall of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Syria is the world's leading oppressive Ba'athist government and Damascus is the hub of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The al-Assad family, which has ruled since 1970, is Alawi Shiite, which is considered heretical by Syria's majority Sunni population.
The largest of the religious groups in Syria are the Sunni Muslims. We should take note thought that the Twelver Shia sects of Syria are concentrated between Homs and Aleppo. Homs and its Baba Amr neighborhood is center stage to today's revolutionary fighting. Journalists are prohibited from entering Syria, so the news in this area is from raw amateur video documenting explosions, gunfire and shouts of "Allahu Akbar".
Notably, the Twelver faith, a counterfeit of the 12 Disciples, is in the majority in both Iran and Iraq. The belief they hold is that their Mahdi will be none other than the "returned" Twelfth Imam. "Twelvers" believe the Twelfth Imam is the 12th successor of Muhammad who is an infallible man that has been in hiding and will return to rule over the world as a messianic figure and they also believe that he will return with Christ as his Muslim aid to establish the final global governance of Islam. The following is a documentary describing the belief of the the Twelver faith with a focus on Iran'r role.
If today's conflict in the Middle East and Syria which is occurring at the same time as a European financial crisis and global opposition against Iran's goal of nuclear power sounds apocalyptic, you are right it is because despite what Senator John McCain thinks or says, this is not a heroic battle between "the people" seeking democracy and another Dictator... this is an ancient, dark religious battle between Sunni and Shia. And in the end, whether the Oracle of Damascus describes the oldest city in the world being taken away by chemical toxins or other weapons of mass destruction, the bottom line is that it will affect you, your family and friends. The events you are witnessing are important and have great meaning as the words of the Bible are again proven true and unchanging. The prophecy of Damascus is thousands of years old, yet it is unfolding in your lifetime, right now before your eyes and ears. Don't ignore it.
What does that mean for you personally? It means that it is now time for you to repent and return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment. God is a sovereign God. He has given us His Biblical prophets to warn in advance of these things. He is a loving God but a time of judgment is coming and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua. Do it now!
Unlike Isaiah's prophecy that promises a wonderful outcome for Egypt in which God says Egypt will be a blessing after an evil ruler governs for a time in the end of days, the prophecy of Isaiah for Damascus is truly horrific.
The fulfillment of these ancient words appears likely to be right before us in the Syrian news reports that read as the words of Jeremiah... "her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD (YHVH) of hosts". Today, Damascus is the world's oldest continuously inhabited city, yet God's word says it will be "a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow".
Nonetheless, bad tidings should not be our only focus. Instead, we must follow Daniel in his prayer of confession. Study all the prayer of Daniel 9. It begins:
"And I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances." Daniel 9:4-5Daniel’s prayer is precisely what is required today in order to seek forgiveness from God's mercy and grace so that we may be restored to begin walking in God's instruction. That should be our focus because it is the teaching and instruction that the Bible gives to us from the front cover to the back:
“‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies— or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.’” Leviticus 26:40-42There are dark days ahead, days of terror. It's time to get on our knees to pray and repent and to return now to the path and ways of God because...
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1John 2:3-4
"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it." 2John 1:6
"Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12
At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us. Isaiah 17:14
"You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end." Matthew 24:6
June 16, 2012: Reporting for The Independent, Robert Fisk is based out of Beirut, today he released an exclusive breaking news story that Iran is sending 4,000 troops to Syria to support Assad's troops. This is important and the storyline is much deeper as it may show that the lines are being drawn closer for the prophetic latter time goat-ram conflict described by Gabriel in Daniel 8.
I recommend that you read the FULL STORY not just the excerpt below and consider the deep implications that Mr. Fisk has shed some very serious light on:
Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in SyriaJune 11, 2013: On Sunday, June 2nd I sat and watched Senator John McCain on national television on the CBS program “Face the Nation” describe his secret trip to Syria where he said he personally met with rebels fighting against Bashar Assad's government forces. Senator McCain continued to say as he has in the past we should get militarily involved. We have all heard him say we need to be arming the rebels.
Sunday 16 June 2013
"Washington’s decision to arm Syria’s Sunni Muslim rebels has plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region.
For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years. Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel."
Well, the problem is - - no one really has any idea what "rebels" he is talking about. Can we even be sure that there are any "good guys" still left in the fight and just who are they? As you can see in this post, I am convinced that intervention will have ramification of Biblical proportion because of stories just like these...
Teenager, 15, Executed By Islamist Rebels in SyriaMarch 19,2013: U.S. official: 'High probability' Syria used chemical weapon (CNN)
A teenager selling coffee in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was arrested by Islamist rebel fighters for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, beaten and then executed in front of his family, a watchdog group claims.
The boy, Mohammed Qatta, 14, reportedly refused to give a customer coffee, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday.
"Even if [Prophet] Mohammed comes back to life, I won't," the boy said, who was known by his nickname "Salmo."
Extremist rebels driving past in a black car overheard the comment, the opposition Aleppo Media Center said. Qatta was taken away by the fighters and later brought back, his head wrapped with his shirt and his body covered with marks from whipping.
The rebels then read out the boy's sentence - not in a Syrian accent, but in classical Arabic. They accused the boy of blasphemy and told the crowd - which included the boy's parents - that anyone who insulted the Prophet would suffer a similar fate.
Qatta was then shot in the mouth and neck. A graphic photo was released late Sunday of the dead boy clearly showing wounds that matched the reports.
The boy's parents confirmed the accounts in an interview posted online on Monday by the Aleppo Media Center. In it, his father stoically recounted the execution while his mother wailed.
"Why did they kill my son," she cried. "We are not for or against anybody in this conflict, may God take revenge on them."
The Islamists and their group have yet to be identified."
Read the full story at ABC News.
There is a "high probability" that Syria deployed chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war, but final verification is needed, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee told CNN on Tuesday.
"I have a high probability to believe that chemical weapons were used," Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We need that final verification, but given everything we know over the last year and a half, I would come to the conclusion that they are either positioned for use, and ready to do that, or in fact have been used."
Rogers and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, struck ominous tones in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" about the possibility that Syria had crossed what President Barack Obama has said was a "red line" that could lead to the United States getting involved militarily in the conflict.
This Reuter's story provides more details of the alledged chemical attack by rebel fighters against Syrian security forces in Aleppo.
The photo of a ruinous heap seen in this report on the attack from Israel National News is astounding.
February 9, 2013: Rebels close in on heart of Damascus
"Rebel fighters moved closer to the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, with fierce battles against government forces reported on the periphery of the city resulting in over 40 deaths, opposition groups said.December 28, 2012: Today a Voice of America report comes from nearby Iraq the the Sunni-Shiite conflict is spreading as protests spread through the MidEast:
Syrian government forces battled on Friday to recapture sections of the Damascus ring road from rebels pressing in on the capital, opposition activists said.
War planes fired rockets around Jobar, Qaboun and Barzeh neighbourhoods, the sources said. Heavy fighting was taking place at the Hermalleh junction on the ring road just south of Jobar, which had been seized by the rebels.
Rebel fighters based in the eastern Ghouta region broke through government defensive lines on Wednesday, capturing parts of the road and entering Jobar, 2 km (one mile) from security bases in the heart of the city.
President Bashar al-Assad, struggling to contain a revolt in which 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011, has lost control of large parts of Syria but his forces, backed by air power, have so far kept rebels away from central Damascus."
"Tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in a Sunni-dominated western province, the latest in a series of demonstrations against the country's Shi'ite-led government.December 25, 2012: Little did you know but the words of Matthew 24:9-10 that were recorded nearly 2,000 ago, reflect today's horrors seen in Syria as reported by CNN:
The protesters blockaded a main highway Friday in Anbar province west of the capital, Baghdad, holding placards and chanting slogans against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Protests were also reported in the northern Sunni towns of Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra."
"A report issued last week by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria focused on sectarian hostilities and referred to dangers faced by Christians. It cited a car bombing outside a bakery in Jaramana and the kidnapping of Christians in September.December 11, 2012: While many believe the Biblical prophecy of the destruction of Damascus has to be from an explosive attack on Syria, ABC News files this report that matches the message given here in this post exactly 11 months ago, that Isaiah 17 describes "a heap of ruins" that will center around Damascus "in a day of grief and incurable pain": Defector: Assad Will Use Chem. Weapons
Before the conflict started in March 2011, the largest Christian communities were in the Damascus, Aleppo and Homs regions, it said. But many Christians have fled their homes because of the violence.
Homs Christians have escaped to Damascus, and some have made their way to Beirut; Armenians who had been living in Syria have sought refuge in Armenia.
Syria's Armenian Orthodox and other Christian communities "have sought protection by aligning themselves with the government, with the consequence that they have come under attack from anti-government armed groups," the report said."
"A former top general in Syria's chemical weapons program says he doesn't doubt for a moment that President Bashar al-Assad will deploy his chemical weapons arsenal as he tries to hold onto power and crush the uprising that started almost two years ago.And in Washington the U.S. Formally Recognizes Syria's Main Rebel Group
"The regime started to fall and deteriorate. It's coming to its end," said retired Major General Adnan Sillou in an interview in a hotel near Antakya, on Turkey's southern border with Syria. "It's highly possible that he'll start using [chemical weapons] to kill his own people because this regime is a killer."
Sillou told ABC News that until September 2008, he was chief of staff on the defensive side of the chemical weapons program. He said he was in charge of training soldiers against attacks and contact with the weapons, as well as procuring safety equipment to guard against them.
He listed mustard gas along with the sarin, VX and tabun nerve agents as the main elements in Syria's chemical arsenal, whose existence Syria doesn't even acknowledge. Foreign intelligence officials and analysts have focused on the first three as the main threats, and last week U.S. officials said there was evidence sarin had not only been moved, but its binary components, usually stored separately, had been combined and placed into bombs for use.
Sillou accuses Assad's forces of already spraying pesticides and dropping white phosphorous, claims also made by opposition activists.
"They're idiots, crazy. Simply they are killers," he said.
Sillou believes the regime could step it up to more serious chemical weapons if Aleppo, Syria's most populous city where fighting has raged for months, falls to the rebels.
In July, Sillou left Syria for Turkey almost four years after he said he retired from the military. Sillou told ABC News that in his last post, which he held for six years, he was second in command behind a man named Said Ali Khalil, a member of Assad's ruling Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
After defecting, Sillou said he was debriefed by an Arabic-speaking agent from the Central Intelligence Agency in Turkey's capital, Ankara. The meeting lasted three hours and was the last contact he said he had with them or any other intelligence agency.
Fighting is raging around the capital, Damascus, notably on the airport road where rebels are trying to take the airport to hamper outside support and deal a highly symbolic blow to the regime. The uptick in violence near the seat of Assad's power has raised American fears that he could resort to using his chemical weapons."
The U.S. on Tuesday formally recognized Syria's main rebel group, paving the way for more U.S. support in pursuing an end to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.December 8, 2012: Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War
The announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama in a television interview, ahead of an international conference in support of Syrian rebels on Wednesday in Morocco, puts the administration on foot with European allies who are seeking to leverage a string of recent rebel successes by increasing support to the opposition.
"We've made a decision that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population ...
"BAGHDAD — The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists.December 5, 2012: As the USS Eisenhower group and two Iwo Jima groups now bring 10,000 amphibious U.S. troops afloat off the Syrian coast Syria loads chemical weapons into bombs; military awaits Assad's order:
Money flows to the group, the Nusra Front, from like-minded donors abroad. Its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields. As their successes mount, they gather more weapons and attract more fighters.
The group is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, which has contributed veteran fighters and weapons.
“This is just a simple way of returning the favor to our Syrian brothers that fought with us on the lands of Iraq,” said a veteran of Al Qaeda in Iraq, who said he helped lead the Nusra Front’s efforts in Syria.
The United States, sensing that time may be running out for Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, hopes to isolate the group to prevent it from inheriting Syria or fighting on after Mr. Assad’s fall to pursue its goal of an Islamic state."
"The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.
The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said."
US News and World Report: Russia Docks Warships in Syria as NATO Arms Turkey Expert: Ships show Russia still backs Assad By Paul D. Shinkman
December 4, 2012: This week's headlines:
• U.S. warns Syria regime against using chemical weaponsNovember 28, 2012: The BBC reports on Syria conflict: Twin bomb blasts shake Damascus suburb
• U.S. intel indicates Syria ramping up chemical weapons bases
• U.S. weighing military options if Syria uses WMD
• Obama Warns warns Assad against using chemical weapons
• Syrian chemical arms use would draw immediate response
• Syria regime 'mixing chemicals to make sarin gas'
"At least 34 people are reported to have been killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions in a south-eastern district of Syria's capital, Damascus.Update October 19, 2012: Lebanon on edge after anti-Syrian intel official killed by Beirut car bomb
State media said "terrorists" were behind the blasts in Jaramana and broadcast pictures showing several charred vehicles and damaged buildings.
The district is predominantly Druze and Christian, two communities which have so far not joined the uprising.
Earlier, there were clashes between security forces and rebels in Jaramana.
There has been fierce fighting in recent days in eastern parts of the countryside around Damascus, known as the Ghouta."
"Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- Tensions were high Friday night around Lebanon, hours after a top Lebanese intelligence official known for his anti-Syrian stance and at least two others were killed in a massive explosion in normally peaceful neighborhood of Beirut.Update October 17, 2012: As the battles continue, an amateur video shows the explosive downing of a Syrian helicopter today as fire falls from the sky:
Gunfire erupted in the capital and enraged citizens blocked roads after the blast, which left Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan dead and heightened fears that Syria's civil war could boil over into neighboring Lebanon. In Sidon, people shouted, blocked city streets and burned tires in protest, according to CNN iReporter Ernesto Altamirano.
The friction turned to violence in other spots, including clashes in the seaside Lebanese city of Tripoli between supporters and foes of Syria's government."
"Al-Hassan, the chief of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch, was a powerful Sunni Muslim figure aligned with a political movement that emerged after Rafik Hariri's assassination and opposes Syria's government under al-Assad. He was also leading an investigation into a Lebanese politician accused of working with two Syrian officials to plan attacks inside Lebanon."
Meanwhile, this report comes from Istanbul:
"Turkey’s government has put its military into a “high state of readiness” over simmering tensions along the border with Syria amid a continuing visit by the country’s top soldier to inspect troops massed along the frontier.And according to the Anatolia News Agency, its not just the Syrian border that is seeing a Turkish troop buildup:
“We want to give a strong message to the Syrian regime that Turkey is determined to protect its borders and people and is ready to do whatever necessary – that is the meaning of high-level readiness,” a high-ranking official said."
"New military outposts were introduced yesterday along the Turkey-Iran border by the governor of the eastern province of Van.Hurriyet Daily News also reports that: Russia to target Turkey with anti-aircraft missiles
Some 37 of 43 outposts stationed along the 285 kilometer-long border Turkey shares with Iran have been re-built by the state-run Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) since 2010.
The outposts have been built closer to the border compared to their previous locations in order to better monitor and fight against terrorist activities and smuggling, according to the report."
"Russia has begun installing a new state-of-the-art anti-aircraft weapon system in its southern military region with an eye toward targeting Turkey in response to a NATO missile defense shield outpost that was recently established in East Anatolia, daily Hürriyet reported.Update August 2, 2012: Stratfor reports on The Specter of Syrian Chemical Weapons
The installation will be completed by the end of this year, said Russian Col. Igor Gorbul, adding that the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles were capable of destroying all types of airplanes, as well as ultra-stratospheric and ballistic missiles.
Turkish-Russian tensions rose last week after Ankara forced down a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus on suspicions that it was carrying weapons, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov moved to defuse tensions by saying the country’s bilateral relationship would not be damaged by the incident."
"Hezbollah may be the militant organization in the region that could most effectively utilize Syrian chemical munitions. The group possesses a large inventory of artillery rockets, which could be used to deliver the type of barrage attack required for a successful chemical weapon attack. Rumors have been swirling around the region for many months that Libyan rebels sold some chemical munitions to Hezbollah and Hamas. While we have seen confirmed reports that man-portable air-defense systems and other Libyan weapons are being smuggled into Sinai en route to Gaza, there has been no confirmation that chemical rounds are being smuggled out of Libya."Update July 23, 2012: The NY Times reports on the words of a man named Jihad: Syria Threatens Chemical Attack on Foreign Force
"BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian officials warned Monday that they would deploy chemical weapons against any foreign intervention, a threat that appeared intended to ward off an attack by Western nations while also offering what officials in Washington called the most “direct confirmation” ever that Syria possesses a stockpile of unconventional armaments.Syria rejects Arab League plan for Assad to step down
The warning came out of Damascus, veiled behind an assurance that the Syrian leadership would never use such weapons against its own citizens, describing chemical and biological arms as outside the bounds of the kind of guerrilla warfare being fought internally.
"Any stock of W.M.D. or unconventional weapons that the Syrian Army possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, under any circumstances,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, said at a news conference shown live on Syrian state television, using the initials for weapons of mass destruction. “These weapons are made to be used strictly and only in the event of external aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.""
"Syria has rejected an Arab League call for President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his deputy.Update July 22, 2012 AFP reports: Turkey sends missile batteries to Syria border
The league, meeting in Cairo, urged Syria to form a national unity government with the opposition within two months.
A government official called the plan "flagrant interference" in Syria's internal affairs, state TV said.
The UN says more than 5,000 people have died as a result of the crackdown on protests since they began last March.
The league called on both sides to end the bloodshed.
The government in Damascus says it is fighting "terrorists and armed gangs" and claims that some 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed."
"Turkey sent batteries of ground-to-air missiles to the border with Syria on Sunday, media reports said, boosting its firepower as rebels in Syria seized several border posts.NBC News staff and wire services report: A first? Helicopter gunships bombard Syrian capital
As fighting raged in Damascus and Aleppo, rebels were said to have taken control of three crossing points on the border with Turkey, which is sheltering thousands of Syrians who have fled the conflict at home.
A train convoy carrying several batteries of missiles arrived in Mardin in southeastern Turkey and will be transferred to several army units deployed on the border, according to the Anatolia news agency.
Television footage showed at least five vehicles in the convoy were carrying air defence missiles, in the latest show of force by Syria's one-time ally which is now a fervent critic of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned last month after the downing of a military jet initially blamed on Damascus that it now regarded Syria as a "clear and imminent threat"."
"Helicopter gunships bombarded several districts of Syria's capital in an effort to drive out insurgents, as rebels battled President Bashar Assad's forces near the main intelligence base in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, witnesses said.Update July 19, 2012: Fears grow Syria will use chemical weapons stockpile
"Helicopters are fiercely shelling the northern quarter of Barzeh with rockets and machine guns," an NBC News contact in Damascus said. "They're flying over my head. The shelling is the first of [its] kind ever witnessed in Damascus."
Residents and opposition activists told Reuters that Syria's elite Fourth Division troops were besieging the northern neighborhood of Barzeh, one of three northern areas hit by helicopter fire. Rebels were also driven from Mezze, the diplomatic district of Damascus, they said."
"As the violence raged seemingly unabated, the United States said it was closely monitoring Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and is "actively consulting" Damascus's neighbors to stress concerns over the security of those weapons and Syria's responsibility to safeguard them.
"We believe Syria's chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian government control," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Saturday. "Given the escalation of violence in Syria and the regime's increasing attacks on their people, we remain very concerned about these weapons.""
"Bashar al-Assad is highly likely to deploy chemical weapons as he faces an unprecedented threat to his rule, security sources warned on Thursday night.Update July 17, 2012: The BBC continues to provide the most up to date relevant reporting on event in Syria: Syria: Assad regime 'ready to use chemical weapons'
British military intelligence chiefs told The Daily Telegraph there was a "high probability" of the Assad regime resorting to chemical agents following the assassination of three senior Syrian military figures in a bomb attack on Wednesday.
A source said that the killings amounted to a "red line crossed" for the regime and that a chemical attack could come "soon" as a result. "The threat is genuine," the source added.
Syria has one of the largest stockpiles in the Middle East, including nerve agents, sarin, anthrax and mustard gas. With the Assad regime teetering on the brink, Western powers have expressed concern that it might be tempted to unleash these weapons."
"The most senior Syrian politician to defect to the opposition has told the BBC the regime will not hesitate to use chemical weapons if it is cornered.Update July 13, 2012: The Wall Street Journal provides this video report...
Nawaf Fares, ex-ambassador to Iraq, said unconfirmed reports indicated such weapons might have already been used.
The comments were made as clashes were reported in Baghdad Street, central Damascus, and fighting spread in suburbs around the city.
"Syria is known to have a significant stockpile of chemical weapons. There have been growing concerns in neighbouring countries and among Western governments about the security of such weapons should the regime fall.
Asked if he thought President Assad might use chemical weapons against the opposition, Mr Fares told BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner in an interview in Qatar that he would not rule it out, describing Mr Assad as "a wounded wolf and cornered".
"There is information, unconfirmed information of course, that chemical weapons have been used partially in the city of Homs," he said.
Mr Fares's claim that Sunni Muslim militants in al-Qaeda are collaborating with a regime dominated by those from the minority Allawite sect will surprise many."
US Concerned as Syria Moves Chemical Stockpile
"U.S. officials said that Syria has begun moving parts of its vast chemical weapons arsenal out of storage facilities. Julian Barnes has details on The News Hub."
July 12, 2012: Sky News HD gives this important video report today:
Syria's Chemical Secret: Israel Raises Alarm Intelligence sources are warning of Syria's secret chemical stockpile that could fall into terrorist hands.
"Hundreds of tonnes of Syria's stockpile of deadly nerve gas could fall into the hands of terrorist groups if the regime of Bashar al Assad falls apart amid widening concerns that Israel could go to war to try to stop this 'Doomsday threat'.Update July 3, 2012: Today, let's review an interesting commentary on the Syrian situation from Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr.: US Military Confronts Nightmare Scenario Of Syrian Collapse
According to Middle Eastern and other intelligence sources, Syria has the biggest stockpiles of the nerve gasses VX and Sarin, as well as mustard gas, in the Middle East.
Investigations by Sky News have identified four sites where the agents are produced: Hama, Latakia, Al Safira, near Aleppo and at the Centre D'Etude et Recherche Scientifique laboratories in Damascus."
"There are widespread fears that a Gaddafi-style collapse of Syria into chaos, would mean that chemical weapons would spread around the globe."
"Call it Somalia on steroids. Call it Syria next week. Either way it's a scenario the US military needs to prepare for: an intervention into a failing state where rival factions have looted a sophisticated arsenal, from tanks to shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to weapons of mass destruction."Update July 1, 2012: Four members of international diplomacy team known as the Quartet that have aligned themselves to divide Israel have now teamed up with foreign ministers from China, Iraq, Turkey and the Arab League to devise none other than a "six" point international plan in Geneva to move President Bashar al-Assad out of power and form a transitional government of national unity through discussion and mutual negotiation.
The Action Group for Syria Final Communiqué has been released. The issue however is that there is no national unity in Syria. Can you imagine the success the Brits, Chinese and Russians would have had meeting in Geneva in 1861 to devise a plan through political dialogue of preventing the American Civil War?
The nation is engaged in civil war as the Arab Spring has systematically and geographically moved nation by nation from west to east. Four governments have been overthrown as regime change began Saturday December 13, 2003 in Iraq and continued eight years later with the protests in Tunisia that started on December 18, 2011. Egypt, Lybia and Yemen followed. Syria is next. Revelation tells us plainly, five of seven kings must fall.
As I asked in my November 23 and September 23, 2011 Zechariah's Vision PRAYER ALERT's... Are we staring prophecy right between the eyes of the beast?
Syria should remind all Bible prophecy students of the imagery and prophetic words of Revelation. And as stated in another post, if we are to be wise, it is well worth considering that four of the seven "kings", the rulers of the original Arab League States "have fallen" within the last eight years since December 13, 2003, the day Saddam Hussein was captured when he was found hiding in a six foot hole in the ground outside his childhood home of Tikrit and Lybia's Muammar Gaddafi was found in a drainage pipe outside Sirte:Are we staring into the face of the prophecy?
"Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. "The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction". Revelation 17:9-11
Following the execution of Iraq's Dictator Hussein, Libya's Dictator Muammar Gaddafi has now fallen from power as has Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali has fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the western gateway to Mecca.
It appears now that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will be the 5th Arab League leader to fall, yet "one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while."
Astonishingly, two thousand years after it was written, Revelation 17:10 tells us plainly that five of the seven leaders, yes five will fall. It does appear that the prophecy of Revelation 17 and today's Arab League are tied together. If so, we now have a solid link between the ancient nations that opposed Joshua as well as Israel's armies that fought Arab League members in 1948 and 1967. And it now appears that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will soon fall. He will be the fifth dictator of the original Arab League nations to lose power through extreme violence and the second of the three nations (Egypt, Syria and Jordan) that fought with Israel in 1967.
We have seen the Arab League leaders of Iraq (Saddam Hussein), Lebanon (Fouad Siniora), Egypt (Hosni Mubarak) and now Yemen's (Ali Abdullah Saleh) fall before our eyes as they have been stripped from their autocratic rule and dictatorial power as their governments have collapsed as the world watched. Syria's Bashar al-Assad is on the threshold of losing his power and government at any time and even Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he must step down. Wow... we really need to keep our eye on Ergodan. How is it he can assume such power?
If these Arab League nations are indeed the seven kings of Revelation reflected first in the book of Joshua, then one of the seven today is the government which was (in power)... will come back into power... and go on to destruction by the sword in the valley of decision.
This is prophesied by Joel 3 and Zechariah 9. This means that the Arab League, like Islam itself that feigned death at the end of World War I with the fall of the Ottoman Empire will be reborn - revived to rise up again and it has. This prophecy looks just like a repeat of the fall of King Jabin of Hazor. Today's Jabin whoever he is, may very well rise from the chaos of the Islamic Awakening in an attempt to unify the people and nations of the Mideast. Like the original Arab League this may very well be led by the nations with the greatest might and wealth in the desert sands, Saudi Arabia.
Do the words of Daniel 2:31-46 and Revelation 17:8-14 foretell of a revived Islamic Caliphate uniting the clay and iron of Sunni and Shia under the spiritual leadership of the awaited Mahdi, the hope of Iran? If so, he will be leading a group of ten which have received no kingdom as yet; but will receive power as kings one hour with the beast following the fall of the five kings.
We need to keep our eyes on Assad's old friend in Turkey. Why? Because history repeats just as the Bible teaches. The Ottoman's of World War I were called the Ottoman Turks. They supported Germany and now following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Turkey is no longer a key ally to the west.
Update June 28, 2012: Explosions in Damascus, Syria and Debka states Assad is confined to palace by his Republican Guard
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2012, 11:13 AM (GMT+02:00)Update June 27, 2012: The Globe reports Fierce fighting rages close to Damascus, Assad acknowledges country is at war (video link).
"Debkafile, citing Western intelligence sources, reports Thursday, June 28, that the Republican Guard battalion commander charged with the Syrian president’s security is keeping Bashar Assad shut away in his “Unity” palace. Assad and his family may not leave the building without the commander’s permission under an order current since the second half of last week. It is not clear to whom the commander defers in this case and who in fact actually determines whether Assad can come or go.
Asked by Debkafile if an element in the Republican Guard ordered the palace placed under siege to prevent the president and his family fleeing, those Western sources replied that the situation could be described as a “partial siege” which is constantly expanding. They added, in response to another question about the Syrian ruler’s freedom of movement, that neither Assad nor members of his family are able to leave the palace to go anywhere and they are aware of the restrictions placed on their movements.
"Because of the partial siege and these restrictions," said those intelligence sources, "Assad and his wife are both in very low spirits and the atmosphere inside the palace is very bleak.""
"Only rarely since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad broke out 16 months ago has fighting raged so close to Damascus, the capital that has stayed largely loyal to the regime.Update June 26, 2012: Press TV says... Unconfirmed reports say that Britain’s special operations forces have crossed from Turkey into Syria advancing up to ten kilometers inside the country.
“This is the first time that the regime has used artillery in fighting so close to the capital,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Agence France-Presse."
"The fighting outside Damascus, barely eight kilometres from the city’s ancient souk and modern downtown core, was close to elite Republican Guard bases in the suburbs of Qadsaya and al-Hama. Those crack troops, commanded by Mr. al-Assad’s younger brother Maher are among the best-trained, best-equipped and – presumably – most loyal to the Alawite-dominated regime. For rebel forces to battle the Guards close to their main bases is unprecedented and may be an indicator of increasing prowess among the insurgents seeking to topple the Assad regime."
"DEBKAfile, an Israeli military intelligence website, has reported that unconfirmed first reports from British, French, and Turkish sources say British forces have entered Syria from Turkey, taking the lead of a western military incursion.UPDATE June 25, 2012: The number of 40 deaths continues to repeat in this report: NATO to hold emergency meet over Turkish jet shot down by Syria
Moreover, on Sunday 24 June, The Daily Star reported that Britain’s fighter planes were on stand-by to invade Syria in case Britain’s NATO ally, Turkey, decided to launch a strike on Syria.
DEBKAfile said the British incursion was aimed at securing the start of western intervention in Syria to topple President Bashar Al Assad."
"NATO will hold emergency talks on Tuesday to discuss Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet fighter, but the alliance is not expected to take military action, even if it confirms Turkey’s claim that the unarmed plane was attacked in international airspace.UPDATE June 22, 2012: Syrian military says it downed Turkish fighter jet
The incident has further raised regional tensions over the conflict in Syria, where some 40 people were reported killed Sunday in new clashes between rebels and government troops.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sharply criticized Syria for downing the Turkish plane, which Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called an “open and grave violation of international law” that would justify retaliation."
“The United States condemns this brazen and unacceptable act in the strongest possible terms,” Clinton said in Washington. “It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities’ callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security.”
The Syrian military has said it shot down a Turkish plane "flying in airspace over Syrian waters", according to state-run news agency Sana.Syria downs Turkish jet, Ankara to act decisively
"[The jet] was dealt with in accordance with the laws that govern such situations," a military spokesman said. Turkey had earlier said it believed that one of its F-4 fighter jets had been shot down by Syrian forces.
A search for the two crew members is under way, involving Turkish and Syrian coast guard ships. The F-4 Phantom disappeared over the Mediterranean, south-west of Turkey's Hatay province, near the Syrian coast.
ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria shot down a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday and Ankara warned it would respond decisively to the incident that threatened to open a new international dimension in the 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Just in case you were wondering why the "sudden" conflict between Turkey and Syria, perhaps we have a big clue about Turkey's role with Saudi Arabia from The Guardian: Saudi Arabia plans to fund Syria rebel army
Syria said the Turkish aircraft was flying low, well inside Syrian territorial waters when it was shot down.
With the second biggest army in NATO, a force hardened by nearly 30 years of fighting Kurdish rebels, Turkey would be a formidable foe for the Syrian army which is already struggling to put down a 16-month-old revolt.
"Exclusive: Command centre in Turkey organising weapon supply to opposition. Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on the Assad regime, the Guardian has learned.This is from The New York Times regarding possible CIA involvement in Turkey:
The move, which has been discussed between Riyadh and senior officials in the US and Arab world, is believed to be gaining momentum as a recent flush of weapons sent to rebel forces by Saudi Arabia and Qatar starts to make an impact on battlefields in Syria. Officials in the Saudi capital embraced the idea when it was put to them by Arab officials in May, according to sources in three Arab states, around the same time that weapons started to flow across the southern Turkish border into the hands of Free Syria Army leaders.
Turkey has also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is co-ordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria. The centre is believed to be staffed by up to 22 people, most of them Syrian nationals."
"Intelligence officials say a power vacuum would provide an attractive environment for militants who espouse a global jihad world view. "The next three to six months are crucial in Syria," one official said. "The ingredients are right for them [jihadists] to turn up and start acting decisively. That would not be a good outcome.""
WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.And today the Voice of America reports... Syria Said to Possess Vast Quantities of Chemical Weapons
The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.
"WASHINGTON, D.C. -The Syrian Army is by regional standards a highly-capable military force and its air force is one of the largest in the Middle East.UPDATE June 18, 2012: Russia to send marines to Syria
In addition to that, Western experts believe Syria has a large chemical weapons arsenal including mustard gas, the more modern sarin and even VX - the most toxic of all chemical agents."
"MOSCOW – Two Russian navy ships are completing preparations to sail to Syria with a unit of marines on a mission to protect Russian citizens and the nation's base there, a news report said Monday. The deployment appears to reflect Moscow's growing concern about Syrian President Bashar Assad's future.UPDATE June 15, 2012: Mere coincidence or do we consider Jesus’ statement in Luke 21?
The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the two amphibious landing vessels, Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov, will be heading shortly to the Syrian port of Tartus, but didn't give a precise date.
The official said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate some equipment from Tartus, if necessary.
Each ship is capable of carrying up to 300 marines and a dozen tanks, according to Russian media reports. That would make it the largest known Russian troop deployment to Syria, signaling that Moscow is becoming increasingly uneasy about Syria's slide toward civil war."
“and great signs shall there be from heaven”…Should we also consider the grip of the sectarian conflict between the Shia Alawites and the Sunni Muslims in Syria as its Sunni nation rises in distress against the Alawite kingdom of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad just as they did in all nations of the Arab Spring?
Luke records the word’s of Messiah. Do we ignore them?
“Then said he unto them, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”Today's news tells us the warning seen in Luke 21:25, the distress of nations, and the seas (people) are roaring as bombing is reported across Syria on Friday as 40 die just as 40 lives were lost on May 10th.
DAMASCUS, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Syrian authorities raided restive areas in capital Damascus and central Homs province on Friday to track down armed groups, as a number of explosive devices went off in several Syrian cities, causing injuries and property losses.June 14, 2012: RT reports: Syria now in state of civil war – UN
Acting on a tip, authorities raided a number of "terrorist" hideouts in the Damascus' suburb of Douma and its outskirts, killing three terrorists, and either injuring or arresting others, said state-run SANA news agency, quoting an official source.
SANA also reported that Syrian authorities raided a hideout of armed groups in central Qusair town, killing unspecified number of terrorists and injuring several others, while a pro-government website page said that armed groups had set the municipal building in Qusair ablaze, and fierce clashes are still underway.
In the meantime, five members of law-enforcement forces, one of them a first lieutenant, were injured when an explosive device was detonated near al-Jawwash roundabout in Hama province on Friday, said SANA, adding the injured were rushed to Hama National Hospital.
Also on Friday in central Midan neighborhood in Damascus, nine civilians and members of the military engineering units were injured in the blast of an improvised explosive device planted by an "armed terrorist group" in al-Qa'a region behind al-Majed Mosque in al-Midan, according to SANA.
Another explosive device was detonated overnight Friday at Bab Sharqi area in the heart of the old Damascus, local media said, giving no further details.
Sound of explosions could be heard reverberating across Damascus after midnight Friday.
In Aleppo province, two civilians were injured in a blast of an explosive device that was planted in a waste container.
Also in Aleppo, six civilians and three law-enforcement members were injured when an explosive device, planted by an armed terrorist group near Saad Bin Abi Wakkas Mosque in Salaheddin neighborhood went off, causing material damage.
On the opposition side, the activists' network, Local Coordination Committees (LCC), said that more than 40 people were killed across Syria on Friday. It said one man was killed and others injured in the army shelling on the suburb of Douma. It added the army also shelled the Damascus' suburbs of Harasta and Deir al-Asafir.
The LCC said overnight protests erupted in a number of Syrian cities Friday.
"Following 15 months of violence the Syrian conflict has now been described as a “civil war” by the UN peacekeeping chief. Coming as it does amid repeated attacks on UN observers the statement may endanger the whole peace plan in Syria.
Herve Ladsous, the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, is the first UN official to acknowledge that the conflict has escalated to the state of civil war. "I think there is a massive increase in the level of violence, so massive indeed that in a way it indicates some change of nature," he told Reuters and AFP on Tuesday.
"Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory in several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas," Ladsous added."
Update June 7, 2012: (CBS/AP) Syrian opposition activists claim President Bashar Assad's regime massacred dozens of people in the central Hama province late Wednesday, a claim the government rejects outright as international envoy Kofi Annan is poised to brief the United Nations on violence in the country and the status of his foundering ceasefire plan.
Israel National News reports Syrian opposition claims Assad using toxic material, unidentified gas on Syrian civilians. By Elad Benari
"Syrian opposition sources claimed on Thursday that aircraft belonging to the Syrian Air Force have dropped toxic material into the province of Daraa, the Al-Jazeera network reported.Update May 28, 2012: As the E.U. nations struggle with potential financial disaster, a human disaster hits the people of Syria with the horror of Houla as civilians and children are murdered Friday. This may in my view, may result in the possibility of a conflict between the United States and Iran as the U.S. could possibly intervene in Syria just as Iran has committed troops to support the Syrian leadership with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
According to the report, the unidentified material smells like sulfur and causes drowsiness and unconsciousness.
No further information on these materials was provided, but the report also said that Assad’s forces had used unidentified gas shells on civilians in Daraa, Hama and Deir ez-Zor.
The fact that Syria has a stockpile of unconventional weapons, including chemical weapons, is well-known. The IDF’s Northern District Commander, Yair Golan, recently warned that the battle being in Syria between opponents of the Assad regime and Assad loyalists may have an effect on what is happening in Israel.
Golan pointed out that “Syria has weapons of mass destruction along with a very heavy arsenal of weapons, including surface-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons. The fact that Syria is a storehouse of weapons which fuels terrorists in the region is very unsettling.”
A senior Israeli military officer has said that the ongoing conflict in Syria has made it easier for Hezbullah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon. He added that there is concern that some of the Assad regime's stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in the group's hands.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that sophisticated weapons could be transferred from Syria to Lebanon and to Hizbullah should Assad fall."
But just who is the "opposition" in Syria? It seems no one knows, but the truth is there if we just look.
There are the defectors from the Syrian Army. They call themselves the Free Syrian Army, but what about the others? Unlike the other Arab Spring uprisings, the voice of the the common people seems to be missing, or is that because the media as well as Facebook and Twitter are not allowed in the country? Here is something interesting. Just take a quick look at this photo that was published in RT Times on Published on May, 14 2012... notice the gold watch, the spotlessly clean, collared and buttoned up golf shirt and the ID tag, what's with that? It seems the Sunni's are being imported to oppose the Shia Alewite that control Syria.
Update May 10,2012: Two strong explosions rip through Damascus killing 40 people
Update April 1, 2011: Nations pledge millions for Syrian opposition
"ISTANBUL (AP) - A coalition of more than 70 partners, including the United States, pledged Sunday to send millions of dollars and communications equipment to Syria's opposition groups, signaling deeper involvement in the conflict amid a growing belief that diplomacy and sanctions alone cannot end the Damascus regime's repression."
Update March 23, 2012: Activists: 40 Killed this Week in Syria Town
(BEIRUT) — Syrian activists are urging international humanitarian organizations to urgently go to the northern Syrian town of Saraqeb, where they say security forces have killed more than 40 people in the past four days.Update March 17, 2012: Explosions Rock Syrian Capital By the CNN Wire Staff
"(CNN) -- "A series of deadly explosions rocked parts of Damascus Saturday with some of the targets being Syrian government facilities, witnesses and state television reported.Update January 29, 2012: The following is an excerpt from a report from the BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen:
At least 27 people were killed and 97 others were wounded in two blasts, state TV reported, quoting Syrian Health Minister Wael Halki.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said early indications were that two booby-trapped cars exploded in crowded areas. It put the death toll at 24, with 140 people injured and serious damage caused to surrounding buildings.
One explosion occurred near the customs criminal investigations department, witnesses said. Another struck near the Air Force intelligence headquarters in Tahrir Square in a different area of the city.
State TV reports blamed the explosions on "terrorists.""
Syria rebels gain foothold in Damascus By Jeremy BowenOn December 23, 2011 the world was shocked to learn to that 40 die in Damascus suicide blasts:
BBC Middle East editor, Damascus
"Dark days ahead
The regime, and the people who want it overthrown, view what is happening here as a fight to the finish. For both sides, it is winner take all.
The fact that the country is splitting along confessional lines is dangerous. In Lebanon, next door, they had a sectarian civil war that pretty much destroyed the country.
In Syria it is not a war yet, but it is starting to look like one. Homs, the centre of the uprising in the north, is paralysed and battered. Deraa, where it started in the south, feels as if it is being patrolled by an occupying army.
There are questions I cannot answer. How much force does the regime hold in reserve? Will the president face a palace coup, perhaps from an Alawite general fearful that Mr Assad's stand will destroy their whole community? And will foreigners intervene decisively, as they did in Libya?
I cannot see how, in the long term, the regime can survive an uprising started by people who are so determined that they demonstrate even when they might get killed. But it will not go quietly.
Everyone I have spoken to here believes the worst days still lie ahead."
"Twin suicide car bombs exploded outside two buildings of Syria's powerful intelligence agencies today, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 100, authorities said.The same number died on October 28, 2011 as Syrian security forces kill 40 after worst day of violence in weeks
They were the first such attacks since the country was thrown into turmoil by the nine-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad.
The government quickly held up the explosions as proof of its claims that it is battling not a popular uprising but terrorists intent on overthrowing the regime."
"Syrian security forces opened fire on Friday on protesters and hunted them down in house-to-house raids, killing about 40 people in the deadliest day in weeks in the country's 7-month-old uprising, activists said."
The headline news and the ancient Song of Moses tells us: dark days are ahead.
So return to God's teaching and instruction so you can find your identity and purpose in His word and blow the trumpet.
The Lord is watching over His land and His people, Ephraim and Judah, indeed the whole House of Israel and the strangers and aliens that walk with them. May our prayer be:
"Come Oh Lord unite the whole House of Israel! Regather your chosen from the ends of the earth. Let Ephraim and Judah cry out to your Spirit. Shekinah Ha Yeshua return to the earth. Come oh Lord revive the whole House of Israel, call from your chosen a remnant of faith. Make Ephraim and Judah as One in your Spirit. Shekinah Ha Yeshua be seen in the earth. In these dark days the light is coming, Yeshua is coming... Back to His land!"
(This prayer is excerpted from Music by "Wild Olive" - Peter and Julie Jackson.)