Oh, the suffering, the homelessness amid the cold, winter winds--the hopelessness amid the crumbling of structures and the loss of all possessions which the Syrian War is generating.
Recall the aria in Handel’s “Messiah” where the Lord says He will shake all nations…shake: “And I will shake….And I will shake….”
Syria is shaking with destruction and grief. It is being shredded into little pieces.
About 4 million Syrians cower together in desperate, homeless, winter conditions in rebel-held territory. Bashar Assad’s fully-armed forces are backed up by Russian air power ready to destroy them. This in freezing temperatures, crowded against the Turkish border.
This is the climax of the 9-year civil war with more than 400,000 dead, 5.6 million international refugees and 6.2 million people displaced within its borders. (Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead, 2/24/2020. The Jerusalem Post says that this war has seen 10 million people driven from their homes. (J. Post, 2/14-20, 2020, p. 15)
Assistance from international agencies and the United Nations is nowhere nearly enough to prevent further devastation. The U. N. agency describes the refugee camp in Idlib Province as the world’s largest.
And this crisis in Northwest Syria is intensifying by the day. The U. N. and other aid agencies are doing their best to deliver necessary aid, but they can’t keep up with the growing mass of refugees. In Idlib Province, the last rebel stronghold, some people are using bags of clothing as fuel to warm their shelters.
In Southern Syria, other nations are operating to gain power and position in order to blast Israel with drones and rockets.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that President Erdogan of Turkey whose country is sheltering nearly 4 million Syrian refugees is threatening to march over the border and attack the loyal Syrian army. If Assad continues to march north to the border, the war would become international and the devastation would be even more widespread.
But Assad is not giving up. He is determined to retake every inch of Syrian soil and is directing his militias to move into Idlib Province (Northwest Syria) assisted by Russian airstrikes where millions are amassed in the cold.
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QUESTION: What has gone wrong with this nation of Syria? We know how stubborn the Assad’s have been. But is there something that has happened under the surface—something not recognized by the news agencies and foreign policy wonks?
CONSIDER: Those familiar with the prophets in the Tenakh (the Old Testament) understand that God Himself punished foreign nations that laid their hands on Israel unless God Himself had provoked them to do it as Israel’s punishment for their wickedness. For example, Edom repeatedly harassed Israel during its history. Many of the Edomites actually came into Israel as the Babylonians were destroying everything in their reach in Israel….and laughed, danced in the streets and yelled obscenities.
Syria is not Edom, but the story is similar. Syria has been a perennial enemy of modern Israel, aligning itself with whoever it could to harass her and seriously attempt to destroy her.
Syria is severely anti-Semitic.
Let’s go back to the first partition of Palestine in 1936 when the British were attempting to quiet the local, rioting Arabs in Palestine. The British Commission thought they’d appease the Arabs by allotting Israel only a tiny portion of Palestine. When the Arabs (Palestinians) turned it down, that wasn’t the only sign of rejection. In Aden, Syria, for example, 76 Jews were killed. In Aleppo, Syria, 300 Jewish homes and 11 synagogues were burned to the ground, and half the Jewish population of 4,000 fled the city.
This was the most violent reaction of any Near Eastern (Middle Eastern) city in reacting to a little slice of land going to the Jews.
Syria gained its full independence from France in 1945. Without French authorities to stop them, they immediately began to harass its Jewish residents. The civil service and banks evicted their Jewish employees. Mobs were formed and rioting began against Jewish homes and businesses. Professional licenses up for renewal were refused to doctors and lawyers. Jewish neighborhoods were subject to curfews. Jewish accounts were frozen.
When Israel gained her independence a couple years later, this is what happened in Syria: the Jews living there were beaten, some murdered, their homes looted, their institutions were closed and their holy books destroyed.
When Syrian Jews planned to emigrate, they couldn’t sell their land and liquidate their property. Rioting in city neighborhoods resembled the Russian pogroms of the early 20 century. Those who robbed, beat or otherwise harassed the Jews were not subject to arrest or fines. An economic boycott was slapped on Jewish businesses. Thus, many Jews became destitute.
The Jews who tried to escape the country were usually caught, imprisoned and would often be tortured. The secret police, the Muhabarat, had a special section dealing only with the Jews. Most Jewish worship services had one Muhabarat in attendance.
NOTE: There in Syria many of the Jews could trace their roots to their ancestors who settled there after the Babylonian captivity of the 6th century B. C.
During the brief history of the Israeli nation, Syria was strongly in favor of any war against Israel and has been one of the sharpest goads of any of her neighbors to instigate war. During the lead-up to the Six-Day War, Bashar al-Assad took it upon himself to prod President Nasser of Egypt to “get on with it”—with declaring war on Israel and driving them into the sea. (Mediterranean)
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CONSIDER: The prophets on this issue of anti-Israel activity.
In Ezekiel chapter 25: "Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them….I will stretch my hand against Edom and cut it off from man and beast, and I will make it desolate…”
CONSIDER FURTHER BACK: The Call of Abraham.
In Genesis chapter 12: "Now the Lord said to Abram: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and those who dishonor you, I will curse.”
And therefore, when we look at the shaking and crushing of Syria today, we must look at this sordid and hateful history in relation to Chosen Israel. It seems that the Lord of the nations and the God of Chosen Israel is acting to honor His covenant with Israel and bring judgment on those who despise Him.
What do you think?
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