Syrian Military Nearing Collapse as Islamic Rebels Show No Signs of Stopping

Fatigued, over-stretched, and losing the support of its base constituency, the Syrian Army is conceivably nearing the point of collapse. Major rebel offenses have taken control of the strategic cities of Idlib and Jisr al-Shegour in the north. Meanwhile, a second rebel offensive in the south has been steadily working its way towards Damascus, the capital.

These steady rebel gains have demoralized the Syrian military, created fissures within the regime of president Bashar al-Assad, and force Damascus to accept greater foreign assistance in propping an ailing government, according to an April 30th New York Times report.

Photo Credit: George Ourfalian/Reuters

Here’s why the regime may be nearing its most serious crisis yet.

A plunge in Syrian Army manpower

The Syrian Army has suffered extreme causality and desertion rates during the civil war. During the 4 years of the conflict so far, the military has lost approximately half of its personnel.

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“Four years ago, Syria’s army had 250,000 soldiers; now, because of casualties and desertions, it has 125,000 regulars, alongside 125,000 pro-government militia members, including Iranian-trained Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghan Hazaras,” the Times reports

This increased reliance on foreign fighters has elevated the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia group Hezbollah to a key position, often to the chagrin of the Syrian military. According to the Times, Hezbollah “now leads or even directs the fight in many places,” at the expense of Syrian commanders.

When irregular volunteers and foreign fighters are taken into account, the regime has not seen a collapse in overall firepower. But an increasing reliance on irregular forces and foreigners further limits the regime’s actual reach and credibility.

Furthermore, clashes have erupted between the Syrian military and the Iranian-backed National Defense Forces in the crucial regime-held city of Homs.

A multitude of smaller fighting forces also makes it more difficult for Assad to coordinate the military into a single overarching force, or mobilize specifically in the regime’s defense.

Declining support for the government

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Photo Credit:  Abed Kontar/Reuters.

Photo Credit:  Abed Kontar/Reuters.

Men inspect a site hit by what activists said were barrel bombs thrown by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in Kansafra village in the Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province January 27, 2015.
Throughout the civil war, Assad has counted on the support of religious minorities for his rule. Much of the regime’s top leadership is comprised of Alawites, a Shia offshoot. Generally Assad could also count on a de facto truce with Kurds, Christians, and Druze as well.

But after years of grinding warfare the minority communities are increasingly unwilling to send their sons off to military service within the Syrian Army. A growing number of communities that once supported the regime are keeping their children home in order to create local defense forces that are disconnected from regime command and control structures, the Times reports.

Draft-dodging and desertions are also on the rise. In response, Assad has banned military-aged males from leaving the country and has pressed discharged soldiers into multiple rounds of duty. This has fueled discontent with the regime and further eroded support among Assad’s base.

Government infighting

Photo Credit: Ammar Abdallah/Reuters).

A damaged picture of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad is seen on a wall in Idlib city, after rebel fighters took control of the area on March 28, 2015. The text on the poster reads in Arabic “With Bashar.”

The stresses of the civil war have taken a toll on the inner workings of the Assad regime. Assad’s political security chief was reportedly beaten to death after an argument with the head of Syria’s Military Intelligence over the role of foreign fighters. After the incident, Assad was forced to replace both officials.

This infighting is escalating only weeks after Assad allegedly gave a direct order for the arrest of his cousin on charges of plotting against the regime.

The regime is almost broke

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A woman shows U.S. dollars and Syrian pounds in Amman, Jordan. Photo Credit: Ali Jarekji/Reuters.

A woman shows U.S. dollars and Syrian pounds in Amman, Jordan. Photo Credit: Ali Jarekji/Reuters.

The years of fighting and the collapse of the Syrian economy has almost bankrupted the government. According to the Times, Syria started the civil war with approximately $30 billion in foreign exchange reserves. After four years, the regime is down to approximately $1 billion.

This erosion in foreign capital and the collapse of the war economy has collapsed the value of the Syrian pound. The Assad regime has carried out raids throughout Damascus in a desperate effort to find foreign currency.

Meanwhile, the weakening of the pound has led to further discontent within the Syrian Army,according to the Times, as soldiers continued to be paid the same salaries but with a currency that’s becoming more and more worthless.

Security is failing in Damascus

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Smoke and flames are seen as men run from a site damaged from what activists claim was a car explosion in a market near Damascus. Photo Credit: Mohammed Abdullah/Reuters

All of the previous factors taken together has led to a collapse of regime authority and law and order within the Syrian capital. The Times reports that checkpoints in the center of the city are understaffed, while the Syrian police are rarely seen on the streets to enforce even the most basic of laws.

Meanwhile, entire neighborhoods have become de facto controlled by Hezbollah as the regime becomes increasingly stretched.

The rebels have consolidated

A rebel fighter carries his weapon as he stands on a tank ahead of what the rebels said was an offensive to take control of the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour and the surrounding areas, which are controlled by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad April 20, 2015. Photo Credit: Khalil Ashawi/REUTERS

The ongoing rebel campaign in the north of Syria focused around Idlib province marks a significant turning point in the war. A mixture of al Qaeda-affiliated groups, Islamists, and moderate rebels havecome together to take Idlib and Jisr al-Shegour, the first major gains the rebels have experienced against the regime in 2 years.

This concentration of fighters has swung the momentum in the rebels’ favor, threatening the heartland of Assad support along the Mediterranean coast. It’s also created conditions for a wider offensive throughout the north of the country in a single consolidated campaign.

Source: Yahoo and Lisa Muhar

Join us at:  He Is Coming -Are You Ready?

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PROPHECY

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12(KJV).  

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.The cities of Aroer [Biblical Jordan], 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 – Isaiah 17:1-4 (KJV).

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV).

Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven – Luke 21:9-11 (KJV).


The Burden of Damascus

In the last days, Jesus warned us of specific events that will take place between Israel and Syria and the surrounding cities.  Part of Syria are already the scene of a war-torn destruction, and remains one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in Syria’s history. Unfortunately, there is more to come.  As we read Isaiah 17, it tells us Damascus will play a major role in prophecy.  The fact that Damascus is standing as a super city today, tells us that Isaiah 17 is in fact a partially unfilled prophecy.  

The event that is still waiting to manifest is the complete annihilation of Damascus, “a ruinous heap” that makes Damascus “uninhabitable” and a city that will cease to exist:

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.The cities of Aroer [Biblical Jordan], 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 – Isaiah 17:1-4 (KJV).

The destruction of Damascus will happen in one day:

And behold at evening tide 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 17:14 (KJV).

Historically, Damascus has met destruction many times and has been rebuilt several times over, but it has never ceased from being a city, again confirming that this prophecy is yet to unfold, and may be sooner than we think.

According to these verses, the cities of Aroer [Jordan], which are located on the northern bank of the Arnon River just east of the Dead Sea,(which is drying up along with Euphrates, another prophecy being fulfilled) will also be barren, the cities in northern Israel (Golan Heights, etc) will also be destroyed, and the few who remain in Aram [present-day central Syria], a few miles southeast of Damascus, will meet the same destruction and end as those of these northern Israeli cities.

We also see in Psalm 83, where Israel will be invaded by the same armies from Jordan, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. 

The prophecy of Isaiah 17 (known as the Burden of Damascus) closely mirrors with the passages of Psalm 83.  In fact, Isaiah 17 triggers the confederacy mentioned in Psalm 83, and the same confederacy who comes against Damascus, will also be the same to wage war against Israel. The recent treaty signed by the Arab League, bringing 22 Arab states together in a ‘unified army’ (you can read about that here) also fulfilled a portion of Psalm 83, and was in fact created to fight against the ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS!  Also, 10 of the 22 Arab states in the unified army, are indeed the  “crafty counsel”  described in Psalm 83.

The political scene today is at the perfect boiling point of Fulfilling Isaiah 17.   Lets look at what we have so far:

  1. We have both ISIS and al-Qaeda who are now controlling various cities in Damascus. Both groups fighting with and against each other to gain total control over the Syrian region, both hell-bent on overthrowing President Assad and his regime.  Both groups are pledged to Sharia law.
  2. On April 1, 2015, ISIS made another strategic advance, seizing the refugee camp in Yarmouk, less than 20 minutes from the capital city Damascus – the Isaiah 17 prophecy Damascus!
  3. As of today, the Islamists have seized the border of Jordan, also mentioned in Isaiah 17- and what is historical about this, is it is the first time the Jordan government has lost to the Islamic Militants.
  4. Another article confirms control and reports: Al-Qaida in Syria signals sharia law for captured city
  5. Aside from the conflict in Syria, we have the Palestinians and ISIS who both want control over Golan Heights (Golan Heights borders Syria)
  6. Palestinians have long waited for the a sovereign state and are on the verge, if not arrived at a point of “boiling over” with anger towards Israel for denial of what they claim to be their right to the land (biblically, this is not true, but we will not discuss this here).
  7. Hamas and Iran both want to destroy Israel, and have made claims to arm West Bank – they remain a threat to Israel today.  A threat as defined in the scope of starting a war, because it should be known, that the Lord wins the Psalm 83 war, too.
  8. On April 1, 2015 ICC ‘welcomes State of Palestine’ as 123rd member at ceremony.  What is important to note about this is that, one, you must be a “state” to be recognized as a member of ICC, as we can see from the headline, the ICC called Palestinians a state, AND TWO, ICC IS inferring that they have gone above the head of Israel, and will force a TWO STATE recognition.  This too could bring about a war, as Ezekiel’s prophecy tells us that once Israel regained the Ancient Heights, it would never be taken away from Israel.  We will wait to see how this plays out politically.
  9. Arab nations, disgusted with the lack of control over ISIS, and USA, have formed an independent “Unified Army” represented by 22 Arab states. All of these nations are enemies of Israel.
  10. We recently heard Russia’s President Putin weigh in on the two-state solution, in which he sides with Palestinians.We must consider if Putin would have any involvement in this war.
  11. Temple Mount also remains a political struggle between Arabs and Israeli government, both vying for its complete control.  While it is legally owned by Israel, it is currently controlled by the Islamic Waqf. It is not just the dispute of building the Third Temple that stands for increased tensions, because as you may already know, the Israeli government has long kept the peace there.  But it is a historical and holy site for the Muslims, and they believe it belongs to them.  The Militants will without a doubt, seek to gain control of the temple mount if they are given an opportunity. Of course, we know that Israel will be forced to war if this happens.

As you can see, there are so many items boiling in the pot, that indeed will converge to a breaking point. We must watch to see if these events will in fact trigger Isaiah 17, and of course the Psalm 83 war.

It is also interesting to note, that the Islamic Militants, have already begun destroying “idols” in Syria. Associated Press reports the following:

Images posted by fighters claiming to be inside the city suggested government forces had been routed. They showed fighters vandalising statues of Assad’s father, former president Hafez al-Assad, and standing on government buildings trying to tear down huge posters of the president himself. On its Twitter account, Nusra said its fighters had taken control of half the city, posting pictures of the Clock Tower and other landmarks now under its control.

 

Nusra front fighters (Islamist groups led by al-Qaida and joined with ISIS) place shoes on a damaged sculpture of late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in Idlib Photograph: Khalil Ashawi/REUTERS

 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 Isaiah 17:8 (KJV).

damascus and psalm 83 parallels

 Isaiah 17:12 are the same nations that sign a treaty in Psalms 83:5-8:  

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!- Isaiah 17:12 (KJV).

 

The Modern Day Regions and Nations

 

In the faithful Service of Jesus Christ,

Lisa Muhar

Join us at:  He Is Coming -Are You Ready?

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