U.S. Marines Hold Live-Fire Drill in Syria

According to several major news outlets, officials from the Pentagon revealed that more than 100 U.S. Marines have recently flown into southwest Syria to conduct live-fire exercises intended to send a “strong message” to Russia warning them not to conduct any operations near the U.S. base. The Marines helicoptered to Al-Tanf military base which was captured from ISIS by U.S. backed Syrian fighters in March 2016. The U.S. has since maintained various levels of troops at the Al-Tanf base primarily serving to train Syrian nationals to combat ISIS. However, Russia has often remarked that the U.S. is seeking to impose an illegal presence in the region and undermine the government of Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Pentagon denies these claims. Moreover, a spokesman for the US Central Command, Captain William Urban, stated “our forces will demonstrate the capability to deploy rapidly, assault a target with integrated air and ground forces and conduct rapid exfiltration,” stressing that the US “does not seek to fight the Russians, the government of Syria or any groups that may be providing support to Syria.”

Moscow Warns the U.S.

The live-fire drills were launched after the U.S. reported that Moscow had issued two warnings that it is planning to conduct operations against militants in the area. According to CNN the use of the wording “precision strikes” in one of the notes had “sparked alarm with US commanders.”  The recent U.S. show of forces coincides with a meeting between the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Tehran to plan their next steps in the seven-year Syrian civil war. This plan is expected to significantly support an expected offensive led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces into the country’s northwest Idlib Province. In response to this collaborative aggression U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said recently “We consider any assault on Idlib to be a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Syria,” adding “airstrikes by Russia and the regime have already begun against civilian areas. The atrocities committed by Assad will be a permanent stain on history.” It is concerning that the tensions between the U.S. and Russia are continuing to escalate and even more so that Iran and Turkey are also involved. Many believe this may point to a confederation of world powers that will align against Israel during the end times.

Relevant Bible Passages

Many Bible teachers have pointed out the similarities between Russia’s alliance with Syria and the predictions of Ezekiel 38-39 that foretell of a great confederation of nations that gather against Israel and attack from the north during the great end-times battle of Gog and Magog. Likewise, the growing alliance between Syria, Iran, and Russia – coupled with the threats the nation of Turkey has made toward Israel – also has the attention of many prophecy teachers. Interestingly, Ezekiel used the ancient geographical names of these countries that were readily known to his original audience; Rosh, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah (Ezekiel 38:1-6). Of specific concern is the nations of Persia, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah. All of these ancient names refer to the modern nations of Russia, Turkey, and Iran! Should this current climate continue to escalate with force, one could easily see how the confederation of nations Ezekiel prophesied about could develop in and around Syria. Considering the serious implications of this, we need to be in prayer for this situation.

PRAY: Pray that this latest escalation would not result in war between the U.S., Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Pray also for the safety of Israel as her northern border continues to be so violently contested.