Israel drops bombs in Syria

January 30, 2013



John Hoole – February 3, 2013





Once upon a long time ago, several Hebrew prophets predicted that the Syrian capital city of Damascus would someday cease to exist as a city.  Three of the prophets who prophesied against Damascus are Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos.  Damascus is mentioned 59 times in the Bible, so these three prophets are not the only writers that speak of this city.


First, Isaiah, whose prophetic ministry spanned between 740 – 701 BC.  Let’s look at what this prophet wrote.


Isaiah 17:1 NKJV


17     The burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.


Nearly 6 months ago, I presented a lesson titled “The Destruction of Damascus.”  Today, I want to add recent information that hasn’t made the news much.


Keep your eye on Syria, and keep praying for the Syrian people.  It is estimated that 60,000 people have lost their lives in the nearly two years of turmoil.  In early December, I started getting reports suggesting the Bashar al-Assad regime was preparing to use chemical weapons against some of the insurgents.  Now a report by Foreign Policy magazine says Damascus may have actually used such weapons of mass destruction in late December.


A U.S. State Department cable has concluded that “the Syrian military likely used chemical weapons against its own people in a deadly attack last month.”  The United States has diplomats in Turkey who are observing what is going on in Syria.  They conducted  a previously undisclosed, intensive investigation into claims that Assad used chemical weapons.  They sent a cable to Washington D.C., saying there was a “compelling case” that Assad’s military forces had used a deadly form of poison gas.  The cable was signed by the U.S. consul general in Istanbul, Scott Frederic Kilner, and sent to State Dept. HQ, outlining the results of their investigation.  The report stated that Assad used chemical weapons in the city of Homs on Dec. 23, 2012.


Several months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that any movement or transfer of chemical weapons would be considered an act of war.  This past Sunday, January 27, 2013, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said that any sign that Syria’s grip on its chemical weapons was slipping…could trigger Israeli intervention.  Two days later, Jan. 29, an Israeli sources said that Syria’s advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or the Hezbollahs in Lebanon.


Israel fears that should such weapons fall into the hands of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon this could dent the Jewish state’s superiority in any future confrontation.  On the same day – Tuesday, the 29th – Avi Dichter, the Israeli minister for the home front, told Israel Radio that options to prevent Syria from using or transferring chemical or conventional weapons included deterrence and “attempts to hit the stockpiles.”


Still on Tuesday, Israel Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel expressed his worries on about the fate of Syrian chemical arsenal.  Eshel said: “There have been tectonic movements in Syria shifting it towards collapse.  There is a massive weapons arsenal in Syria, some of which is very advanced and some that is unconventional.  All that [weaponry] could find its way to our borders.”


A few days earlier, on Sunday, Israel moved one of its “Iron Dome” anti-missile systems to the north, near Haifa.  That doubled the anti-missile coverage in the north.  Certainly something was up.


Also earlier in this past week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials held a series of security meeting, and warned that the transfer of chemical weapons to Hezbollah could necessitate a preemptive strike by Israel.


Early morning, Wednesday, I started receiving a number of e-mails of Israeli activity occurring earlier that day within Syria.  The initial report said that about sunrise Israel bombed a suspected shipment of anti-aircraft missiles in transit from Syria across the Lebanese border.  This is the first time since 2007 that Israeli planes have entered Syrian air space.  This early morning strike west of Damascus targeted a convoy of trucks which were suspected of carrying Russian SA-17 missiles into Lebanon.  To have such weapons in the hands of the Hezbollah would be a game changer.


Yesterday, Syrian government officials maintained the account of a strike on an arms convoy near the country’s border with Lebanon were wrong.  Syria’s military officials said, Israeli jets had attacked a military facility near Damascus.  But the American government had already confirmed that a truck convoy was also a target.


Syria continues to maintain that the strike was military research facility a few miles northwest of Damascus.  The U.S. sort of modified their earlier statement, saying the accounts of two targets, a convoy of weapon, and a military site – were not mutually exclusive.


The strike was conducted using Israeli F-16i’s – how many has not been reported.  Their route can, however, be ascertained.  Most of you probably know that Syria is located north and northeast of Israel.  But the F-16’s flew to their target from the north.  This means the probably flew north over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, turned east over central Lebanon, then turning south.  The General Command of the Syrian Amy and Armed Forces said, Israeli warplanes snuck from the north of Al-Shiekh Mountain, flying at a low altitude and below radar, heading to Jamraya Military Center.  Al-Shiekh Mountain is more commonly known as Mount Hermon.


None of this has been confirmed by the Israeli government.  They usually decline discussing their military activity with the public news sources.  Capt. Eytan Buchman, an Israeli military spokesman, said the military’s home front command has not raised its alert level.  However, the New York Times reported that Israel had notified the U.S. about the attack.  But the report did not say if the notification came before or after the attack.


While Syrian sources continue to maintain the attack was on a military research facility, reports from ground sources in Lebanon still believe it took place on the border.  One source in Lebanon believed the convoy was hit on the Lebanon side of the border.


Tension between Israel and Syria is definitely on the Increase.  Both Iran and Syria have threatened Tel Aviv of possible serious repercussions.  Other Arab nations and Russia have also condemned Israel’s raid inside Syria.


Despite these threats, Israel has continued, almost daily, conducting low altitude air force sorties over Lebanese air space.  Since Wednesday, none has resulted in fire power or damage.  Some have labeled the last couple of days as mock raids.  This illustrates one good reason Israel will not allow Russian SA-17s in the hands of the Hezbollah.  The “SA” in SA-17 stands for Surface to Air missiles.  That is, they are anti-aircraft missiles.  For a number of years Israel has been free to fly over Lebanon at will because neither the Lebanese or the Hezbollah have anything to stop it.  This gives Israel a large degree of unhindered movement in the air.  Many of these sorties have been over the Bekaa Valley, which runs north and south very close to the Syrian border, and is the primary location of the Hezbollah forces.  In the Bible, this valley is called the Valley of Aven.  It is mentioned in Amos 1:5, and, along with Isaiah 17, which we read earlier, is a passage that speaks of the demise of Damascus.


A resident inside southern Lebanon, Butros Wanna, said Israeli flights have been intense for the past four days.  “There is something not normal going on.  Warplanes are always in the air.”  Another story in all this is that there is a rush in Israel on gas masks.  The demand is greater than the ability to provide them.  4,000 kits were distributed on this past Tuesday alone.  There are about 4.7 million gas masks distributed in Israel in recent years.


As I was writing these notes Friday evening, I receive a report in the Times of Israel.  It was dated 2:57 am on Saturday morning, February 2, 2013.  For me, it was still the previous day, and since Israel time is 10 hours ahead of us, the report was public at 5 pm our time, Friday.


Because the Israeli government has been silent on commenting about the attack, the Times of Israel said its sources were from the West.  The report said sources claimed there were at least one other site, and possibly two, struck during the attack on Wednesday that had not been mentioned by media.  Thus far, not much detail has been given.


Also, on Friday, reports started coming in that the military research center at Jamraya was in fact a chemical and biological weapons production center.  It was also the depot for equipment purchased from Russian.  The Jamraya area also houses training camps for Hezbollah combatants who are learning to operate advanced Russian weapons systems.


Another interesting factor probably influencing Israeli action was that the rebels inside Syria who are trying to topple Bashar Assad, had tried and failed to take control of this site on several occasions – at least 3 times.


In this strike, it is reported that Israel actually conducted two sorties, firing 8 guided missiles, one of which was a bunker busting bomb.  The explosions were heard in Damascus.


In our earlier lesson on the Destruction of Damascus, I mentioned two specific battles that take place sometime before the War of Armageddon.  In fact, it is my personal belief that both will occur before the 7-year Tribulation begins.


The battle of Ezekiel 38 & 39 is the most well-known of the two, and involves countries none of which border on Israel.  I call this the “Outer-Ring War.”


On the other hand, the battle mentioned in Psalm 83, where 10 different people groups are mentioned.  And all of them, except one are countries or locations that currently border on Israel.  I call this the “Inner-Ring War.”


If you were to read Ezekiel 38 & 39 and also Psalm 83, you would notice that neither Damascus nor Syria are mentioned as part of either ring?  Could it be that before either war, Damascus and Syria are already gone?  If so, that could account for its absence from these battles.  If Syria was still a viable nation when these wars occurs, certainly they would want to take part in destroying Israel.


There is also another notable difference between the wars involving these two rings.  The defeat of the inner ring is accomplished by God using the Israeli Defense Forces, while the defeat of the outer ring nations is accomplished by God alone.  And when each ring’s battle occurs, every nation in the ring is destroyed.




For the first time in history, we are on the brink of a setting where this prophecy could be fulfilled.  What is now called by some the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis is a grave threat to Israel.  Iran’s persistent pursuit of nuclear weapons continues unabated.  These are weapons they have vowed to use for the destruction of Israel.  Iran is a chief supporter of Syria and the Hezbollah.  Hezbollah, it is reported, has a minimum of 13,000 missiles in southern Lebanon.  In the last two years, Syria has positioned 800 long-range missiles to respond to Israeli attacks.


If Israel is struck by chemical or biological WMD from Syria or Hezbollah, they will have no choice but to retaliate against Damascus.  The time required for this response would be hours, not days.  Each day without response leaves Israel vulnerable to tens of thousands of Israel civilian casualties, from more WMD attacks.


It also does not take much imagination as to what the rest of the world’s reaction would be.  Nearly all will blame Israel, just like they usually have during the last two or three decades.


Isaiah 17:12-13 NIV


12     Oh, the raging of many nations —  they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples —  they roar like the roaring of great waters!

13     Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale.


Israel again will be seen as the “bad guy” for daring to defend themselves.  What I like about these verses though, is that the Lord isn’t going to stand for it.  It says He will rebuke them for both their words and their actions against Israel.  I am kind of curious exactly what He’s going to do or say.  But, whatever it is, God is going to have the last word.