Russian naval infantry (marines) are firmly ensconced in the Syrian city of Hama. As noted in the 15 September entry below, this city is specifically mentioned, as is the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in the prophecy of Jeremiah 49:23. Russian officers and troops have taken over the former Syrian 4th Division HQ located in the Equestrian Club of southeast Hama. The Russian tri-color flag flies from atop the building. The Al-Nawair Hotel in Hama is now also barracks for Russian marines, approximately 1,050 of them.
The Russian troops can now look forward to IEDs, VBIEDs and suicide bombers hitting them where they live and the routes they drive on with their supplies for forward operating bases inland. Al Qaeda has promised this will happen. No Russian soldier can tell a Syrian ally from an Al Qaeda enemy anymore than an American soldier could tell an Iraqi from an Al Qaeda enemy. They will operate in the midst of Russian soldiers. They will likely pose as Syrian soldiers with Syrian soldier ID cards. Then boom. Russia has entered a quagmire from which the Putin government will have no option but withdraw its troops, or what's left of them.
Sunni Muslims throughout Russia, of which there are many millions, now have a new enemy. Russia's 9/11, or worse, is probably nothing more than a matter of time. Could it be that the Russia/Magog which leads the Ezekiel 38/39 attempt to invade and conquer Israel will do so after its current secular government has been overthrown by an Islamic jihadist insurrection? Putin has no idea what his actions in an Islamic country will bring in due time to Russia; its certainly more than he has bargained for with his Syrian and Iranian allies.
15 September 2015: I believe it would serve us well to look closely at the passage below from Jeremiah 49. Verse 23 is referring directly to that swath of territory in northwestern Syria adjacent to the Eastern Mediterranean seacoast, from the Turkish border to the Lebanese border, and which is currently known as the Governorates of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, Latakia and Tartus. Hamath is the modern-day the city of Hama, and Arpad is located in the present day city of Tell Rifaat in Aleppo.
For they have heard bad news.
They are fainthearted;
There is trouble on the sea;
It cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus has grown feeble;
She turns to flee,
And fear has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.
25 Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets,
And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the Lord of hosts.
27 “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”
It now appears this urgent Russian military deployment is a combat rescue mission in order to save the bacon of the Al-Assad government as jihadist rebel forces are within mortar range of the air base, and were nearing a position of separating the two coastal governorates of Latakia and Tartus from each other and thereby splitting the Alawite homeland in half. Russia's military has taken full control of the Basel Al-Assad Air Base and placed it off limits to all others except for Russian combat forces. A major battle looms between Russian naval infantry forces and the anti-Assad jihadists.
9 September 2015: Students of Bible prophecy are either entertaining a question about, or outright prematurely declaring that the Russian intervention in Syria's civil war is the lead-in to the Ezekiel 38/39 prophecy coming to fulfillment. The fact of the matter is that Russia will say publicly that its troops are in the country to deliver weapons and provide assistance to an ally. But that just pure propaganda.
We must not make an eschatological error mistake here. The only reason Russia is moving military forces into Syria is for a two-fold reason. A) To preempt a pro-Western government from taking hold when the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, and B) to preempt the formation of a pro-Israel client state arising in southern Syria.
Russian combat boots on the ground in Syria will ensure that Russia has a role to play in what follows the inevitable Ba'athist regime's collapse. One need to look back at history no further than the Russian seizure of Sakhalin Island from Japan at the end of World War II to understand why Russian troops are only now putting their footprint deep into Syrian soil, both on the Mediterranean coastline and in the Damascus region. They have come to claim as much of the of the spoils of this war as they can. What the Russians fail to understand is that the Lord has different plans for this land.
7 September 2015: The are now very solid indications that limited military assistance is being provided by Russia to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. These indications confirm that a limited Russian military deployment into Syria of between 700 and 1,000 military personnel. These Russian troops are in an active if not augmentative supporting role with Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered army just as contingents under IRGC-QF command also in Syria are supporting the al-Assad regime against the Islamic State.
The projected number of Russian military personnel potentially to be deployed is based upon reports of pre-fabricated housing units having been airlifted by An-124 Ruslan (NATO: Condor - image below) into the strategically located Mezze Air Base and to the Bassel al-Assad Air Base south of Latakia within the past two days. This could indicate Russian airborne brigade with its headquarters and mobile air traffic control center might have orders to execute a near-term split deployment into these two locations within Syria. The Latakia force to defend al-Assad's ancestral home turf, and the other to defend Damascus against the forces of the Islamic State.
Today the highly respected FortunasCorner.com website republished an article from Saturday with the headline "Exposing Russia’s Secret Army in Syria" which is chock full of the best kind of intelligence data there is - HUMINT (HUman INTelligence). Some of this human intelligence is coming from well-to-do Syrian refugees who have fled the country by aircraft into Turkey. They report seeing Russian military officers out of uniform in Damascus, as well as Russian troops in uniform jointly manning Syrian checkpoints with Syrian troops. They report these Russian military officers are regularly seen with Iranian and Syrian officers in Damascus. According to this report it does appear that the Russian troop deployment is limited to within the thin slice of Syria that remains under government and Iranian/Hezbollah control along the coast and south along the Lebanese border to Damascus.
The most important question that remains to be answered: Will the recently deployed Russian interceptor aircraft will go 'wheels up' to provide combat air cover for overland Iranian arms convoy shipments for Hezbollah in Lebanon which have routinely come under attack by the Israel Air Force in the past couple of years? Will Russia and Israel have a military clash in the skies over Damascus?