The Russian and Iranian build-up in Syria is one of the most fascinating developments we have seen recently. Given what we know from Ezekiel 37-38 and the fact that the invasion of Gog-magog develops from the north of Israel and given that Iran and Russia are both involved - both factors make this situation prophetically significant. Then you consider the prophecy around Isaiah 17 and it gets even more interesting as their bases are around Damascus:
Contrary to the impression conveyed by Moscow that Russian troops in Syria are not engaged in combat and that none of the sophisticated arms deliveries were destined to the Syrian army, new developments belie both these claims.
Wednesday, September 16, Russian R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicles were spotted on Highway 4, which links Homs and Aleppo. These vehicles, called “mobile war rooms” by the IDF and Western armies, were accompanied by BTR-82 troop carriers transporting Russian marines. The R-166-0.5 enables communication with forces located on battlefields as far as 1,000 kilometers away using high frequency and ultra-high frequency signals.
The communication systems are resistant to electromagnetic jamming so Russian forces operating deep inside Syria can report to their commanders at the main Russian base in Latakia or receive orders, intelligence data and even video from drones or planes.
Another feature is a cylinder on the side of the vehicle containing a folded antenna that can be raised to a height of 15 meters.
The R-166-0.5 is an integral part of Russia’s battlefield operations, so it would not be deployed unless long-distance troop movements were underway. The appearance of those vehicles in the Syrian theater provides a clear signal of Moscow’s intentions.
Our sources point out that during the past few days, fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) succeeded in cutting off part of the highway between Homs and Aleppo for several hours. It marked a very dangerous development for the Syrian army and regime, because a permanent cutoff of Highway 4 would tighten the siege on Aleppo and possibly pave the way for the conquest of the second-largest city in Syria.
The movements by the armored vehicles show that the Russian troops are preparing to head into battle in order to prevent such a scenario.
Moscow has denied supplying new, sophisticated weapons to the Syrian army. However, a Syrian military source revealed Thursday, Sept. 17, that the Syrian military has recently started using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, underlining growing Russian support to Damascus that is alarming the United States and Israel.
"New weapons – and new types of weapons - are being delivered,” said the source which described them as “highly accurate and effective.” The army had started using them in recent weeks having been trained in their use in Syria in recent months. "We can say they are all types of weapons - be it air or ground," he said.
Moscow has given itself room to maneuver in terms of its declared goals, telling Washington and Jerusalem during the past few days that its troops will defend their own interests if there is a need to do so. Thus, Russia aims to use its forces in any way that it deems fit.
Moscow proposed military-to-military talks on ways to prevent a confrontation between its troops in Syria and those of the US-led coalition, saying that the talks would provide a complete and clear understanding of Moscow’s intentions.
Unlike Kerry, who is in favor of taking the Russians up on their proposal, some circles in the administration feel that such talks would ultimately give Russia the green light for its military involvement and that Moscow is in the process of grabbing control of running all military operations in Syria, including those by other countries and groups.
Beijing has begun construction of a third runway on its artificial islands in the South China Sea. According to military experts, the landing strip could extend China’s anti-submarine capabilities, a development that Washington isn’t exactly happy with.
The United States has long expressed outrage over Beijing’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. That exasperation was only strengthened last April, when the Pentagon uncovered the construction of a military-grade runway on Fiery Cross Reef.
Now, recent images show that Beijing is building not one, not two, but three 3,000-meter airstrips in the Spratly archipelago. Located on Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs, the runways provide China with a strategic triangle which experts say could allow the military to conduct anti-submarine operations in the region.
"Turning an underwater rock into an airfield does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit," US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a US Air Force conference, according to Reuters.
But other experts have noted that the runways likely have more to do with nuclear deterrence than military aggression.
Zhang Baohui, a mainland security specialist with Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, pointed out that Beijing abides by a 50-year-old "no first use" policy in regards to nuclear weapons. That insistence on using nuclear missiles only as a retaliatory measure leaves the coast vulnerable to a submarine attack.
Beijing is also employing other anti-submarine strategies to defend its waters which also rely on installations in the Spratly islands. Jin-class submarines operating out of a Chinese naval base on Hainan Island could be coordinated by aircraft launched out of the Spratlys.