The real motive behind Russia’s move into Syria

The motive behind Russia’s initial move to militarise Syria was at best, unclear.

Although President Putin at one point spoke of it as a both a humanitarian and anti-terrorism move, little has been done in way of humanitarian work drawing scepticism from western analysts. Furthermore, while ISIS may be a threat to Russia, it posed no more or less of a threat than other terrorist groups.

So what was the real reason behind the Russian occupation of Syria? The answer, perhaps, was hiding in Russia’s nationalistic culture; a latent fantasy – inherited from the Soviet era – of portraying a powerful and globally assertive image-empire, was provoked, to awaken from decades of hibernation. Let me explain:

Amongst other things, Russia’s herculean military enables it to have a voice and influence in international affairs. However, national strength doesn’t lie in brute force alone; such force must be projected globally in order to define Russia as a power to be reckoned with. This is especially apparent in the Middle East, where there is nothing more vital to its deployment capabilities, than its naval fleet.

The problem is that although Russia’s 1234landmass is large, during winter its ports are frozen over which drastically reduces mobility. Although icebreakers are able to separate
the ice and allow ships passage, ice breaking is a slow process and only limited number of capable ships can transit. To rely only on cold water ports would severely limit its global power projection and therefore it is crucial for Russia to maintain warm-water ports in the south.

Russia currently has two globally accessible warm water ports; Tartus in Syria and Sevastopol in Crimea.


In the 1990’s the port was12345 leased to the Russians on a long-term lease. In 2012 Ukraine wanted to join the EU. However they had new elections and Viktor
Yanukovych was elected as the President. Yanukovych was pro-Russian, and he rejected the EU association agreement and instead pursued closer ties with Russia. This resulted in mass demonstrations in Ukraine and continued until Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war. In February 2014 Yanukovych fled to Russia. The conflicts in Ukraine threatened Russia’s warm water port Sevastopol. Also at that time it appeared that the rebels in Syria would defeat Assad, which could result in the loss of Russia’s port in Tartus. So in March 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, thus enabling them to maintain control of Sevastopol. To quote Forbes; “Put simply, without a naval base in Crimea, Russia is finished as a global military power.”

However although Russia now has control of Sevastopol, the port has a key limitation. Access from Sevastopol to the Mediterranean – aka the world – via the Turkish straits; the Bosphorus and 123455Dardenelles, relies completely on Turkish goodwill. Russia and Turkey
have never been on good terms, thus it was necessary for Russia to also secure their port at Tartus; Syria in the event of a Turkish blockade. Incidentally, such a blockade would also be catastrophic for the Russian campaign in Syria, as Tartus is inaccessible by land.


During the cold war, the Soviet made deals with several nations in the Middle East which enabled them to lease ports, this included a deal with Syria to lease Tartus. However at the fall of the Soviet Union, most of these alliances and deals likewise collapsed, excluding the Tartus agreement which remained leased to the Russians. This was possible in 2005 when Russia forgave 73% of Syria’s 13.5 billion dollar debt to Russia. In exchange for this reduction in debt, it appears Syria gave permission to Russia to develop and enlarges their port at Tartus.

How amazing it is to see the Elohim allow that that single, yet strategically chosen port to stay within Russian hands for a future purpose. There are not many other options of ports in the Mediterranean for the Russians to use. Although Russia is allies with countries like Libya, they are too unstable. Other options such as Egypt would be viewed as politically dangerous as it would cause conflict with the UK or US. Syria is geographically very close to Russia, and with no other option, it made sense for Russia to develop Tartus.

Russian naval squadron en route to Syria

It wasn’t until Russia secured Sevastopol, that it set eyes on Tartus. Around the same time that Russia invaded Crimea, the Syrian civil war began threaten Russia’s lease of Tartus. On the 30th of September 2015, Russia responded to the threat by fortifying Tartus and setting up infrastructure to neutralise the Rebel factions which were closest to the base.

By intervening in Syria, Russia first secured Tartus enabling it to become the base of its power projection in the Mediterranean and consequently the world. Secondly and perhaps inadvertently, it gave Russia an opportunity to begin the awakening of its image-empire. Already, both the Papacy, and Europe are looking to Russia for help.

Even though Russia is suffering from US-imposed sanctions due to the annexation of Crimea, it appears that by involving itself in the Syrian civil war – under the guise of humanitarian and anti-terrorism endeavours – that it has been given an opportunity to stop the migrant flow into Europe and become the indispensable European partner. As both the migrant crisis and terrorism grows, Russia will gain increasing leverage over the West and position themselves to have sanctions removed. Germany is already in favour of the removal of sanctions against Russia.

Scriptural significance

Daniel 11:40 talks of a latter day manifestation of the King of the North. Prior to verse 40, the ancient King of the North occupied and controlled the area of the Seleucid empire which included todays Iraq and Syria. To be a letter day manifestation of the same empire, the latter day King of the North must occupy the same region. We are beginning to see the fulfilment of this! Russia is not only in Syria now, but also beginning to enter Iraq to conquer ISIS.

As Russia has become unwittingly involved in the Syrian Civil war while endeavouring to fortify Tartus, it has stumbled across an unfortunate foe – ISIS. ISIS have dragged Russia into conflict, and not only Russia, but most of the world’s largest superpowers. Ezekiel prophesied that one day, Russia would be dragged down to build a confederacy, and to do this, God would put “hooks in their jaws” (Ezekiel 38). It’s possible this is being fulfilled through ISIS. The nations are now gathering just North of Israel and coalitions are being forged.

Through Russia’s endeavour to become a world power by expanding their naval access, the angels are pushing Russia to become the KON, which means this is the last days! We are on the brink of Christ’s return.

Note: This post was generously written and contributed by a young Sister who prefers to remain anonymous.

Russia’s occupation of Syria & Iraq in the prophets.

Putin’s military move into Syria was implicitly prophesied in Daniel 11.

I recall listening to a Christadelphian lecture 1 month prior to Russia’s move into Syria. The lecturer said that the fulfilment of Dan 11:40 required that Russia must occupy Syria before moving into Turkey.

Sure enough, a month later, Russia moved into Syria.

This lecturer is certainly not the only one to have this view. In an exposition entitled “The Prophecy of Daniel”, HP. Mansfield wrote the following back in 1986 – almost 30 years ago:

“Daniel 11: “And the king of the North <Russia> shall come against him <Turkey>”

The fulfilment <of this> must await the final re-forming of the… Kingdom of Syria, which the northern Russian power is poised to accomplish.

She <Russia> is spreading her control over the territory of the ancient king of the north, and only requires a controlling influence in Iran, Iraq and Syria to qualify for the title; then she will be ready to “come against him <Turkey>.”

Page 336

This understanding of Daniel 11 is not a result of the prophetic capabilities of these bible students, but simply a result of careful reading of Daniel 11 and other quotes.

To understand why it is that Russia will have a controlling military influence in Syria/Iraq, we need to understand how the prophets portrayed Gog in their prophecies.

To that end, Ezekiel provides us with a clue. In chapter 38:17, God tells ‘Gog’, that he is the individual who had been spoken of by other prophets:

Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?

Ezek 38:17

Which of the prophets might verse 17 be referring to?

At least two other prophets lived prior to Ezekiel’s time; Micah and Isaiah, and both prophets have latter-day prophecies which refer to Gog:

Gog in Micah & Isaiah – ‘The King of Assyria’

Micah 5

The context of Micah 5 is the coming of the Messiah (v2) and the return of Israel to the land (v3) so this is without a doubt a latter-day prophecy. In verse 5, Micah begins to talk about the latter-day enemy of Israel:

When the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces…

…and it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots

Isa 30 & 31

The time period for both of these chapters in Isaiah are also in the latter days as they talk of a time period that occurs around the time when judgement emanates from Zion, and Jerusalem is defended. Here are the references to the latter-day Assyrian in Isaiah:

Isa 30:31 For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.

32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.

33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

Isa 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.

And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Notice it doesn’t say when “the Assyrians” come into our land, but rather it is the “Assyrian” in the singular.

This is not talking of the latter-day manifestation of the Assyrian’s manifested in a nation or empire (which is comparable to today’s ISIS), but rather this is talking about a latter-day individual, or King – Isa 30:33. This is an autocrat who will have occupational power in Assyria prior to the invasion of Israel.

Map of the Neo-Ancient Assyrian empire. (Dark Green)

This heartland of the ancient Assyrian empire happens to be around the area of the Tigris and the Euphrates (which today is part of Syria & Iraq) in mostly areas that are currently controlled by ISIS.

ISIS Sanctuary 20 may hi res-01
Map of the ISIS sanctuary 2015 (ISW)

While ISIS currently control this region, Russia has declared war on ISIS and are moving into the region with a ferocity unmatched by the United States.

Gog in Daniel – ‘The King of the North’

After Ezekiel’s time, the prophet Daniel was also given information about Gog.

Daniel 11

This time, in the latter part of Daniel 11, Gog is named “The King of the North”.

The empire of the “King of the North” in Daniel 11 was the Seleucid empire which extended from Turkey to Afghanistan.

It’s interesting to note that much like the Assyrian empire, the heartland of the Seleucid empire was along the region of the Euphrates and Tigris which is inclusive of today’s Syria & Iraq.

Seluicid Empire
Map of the Seleucid Empire

Daniel 11 calls Gog the “King of the North” because Gog will have a controlling influence in the region of the ancient king of the North.

Today, Russia is in the process of increasing its military influence and power within this Seleucid region:

  • Russia already has significant influence in Iran
  • Russia already has significant influence in Syria.
  • Iraq has indicated that they would prefer the Russian military for protection instead of the US military and have already started mutual intelligence sharing with Russia to a greater degree than what exists with the US.
  • Putin has expressed interest in occupying Afghanistan as NATO looks to leave. When he announced this, Obama immediately cancelled his troop withdrawal.

Russia’s occupation of Syria & Iraq in the prophets.

Isaiah, Micah & Daniel all refer to Gog as being a king over the former territories of the Assyrian and Seleucid empires before invading Turkey, Egypt and Israel.

As seen earlier, this is currently a region which is under the control of ISIS, however, Russia is moving in and is likely to become the occupying power.

Daniel 11 shows that it is during this time, or after, the Gogian autocrat will focus his attention on Turkey.

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