Voice of America reported the following:
March 14, 2016
U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura began a new round of peace talks Monday in Geneva, warning that the only alternative to the negotiations is returning to “even worse war than we had so far.”
Speaking before meeting with a delegation from the Syrian government, de Mistura said it is up to the people of Syria to decide their future, and the U.N. must help them.
He said the plan is to hold indirect talks with each side for about 10 days, then after a recess convene the next round of negotiations beginning in early April and another one after that. The envoy said he believes the process will yield at least a roadmap for peace
“By then we believe that we should have at least a clear roadmap – I’m not saying an agreement, but a clear roadmap – because that is what Syria is expecting from all of us,” de Mistura said.
He also stressed the need to maintain the cessation of hostilities and increased humanitarian access that have been in place for more than two weeks.
But serious questions remain about what each side is prepared to accept in order to stop the fighting that over the past five years has already killed more than a quarter-million people and led millions more to flee their homes. More than 6.5 million people are estimated to be internally displaced, half of them children, and another three million have taken refuge outside Syria.
De Mistura said the talks will focus on new ways to govern Syria, a new constitution, and what he calls the “mother of all issues” – plans to elect, under U.N. auspices, a transitional government in the next 18 months. …
Syria firm on Assad
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has warned that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s future is not up for negotiation, while the opposition and many outside of Syria – including the United States – have said Assad must step down in order to achieve peace.
De Mistura said Monday that public statements by both sides show there is “much distance” between them. http://www.voanews.com/content/syria-peace-talks-resuming-divide-over-assad-future/3234654.html
Russia does not want the Syrian government changed, whereas the USA does. The Islamic State does not want peace.
Russia announced today, a reduction in its military activities in Syria:
March 14, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of most Russian forces from Syria, state media reported Monday evening.
Russian state media quoted Putin as telling Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the tasks assigned to the defense ministry in Syria have been fulfilled.
“Therefore, I am issuing an order to, starting tomorrow, begin the withdrawal of the bulk of our military contingent from the Syrian Arab Republic,” Putin told the ministers.
The Kremlin’s website quoted Putin as telling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a phone conversation that he had agreed to withdraw the “main part” of the Russian air force contingent currently operating in Syria. http://www.voanews.com/content/putin-pullback-russian-forces-syria/3236132.html
Russia has interest in Syria, but Syria is only a part of its international agenda. Currently, Vladimir Putin must feel that this announcement is good for Russia.
The Obama Administration has repeatedly called for the overthrow of the Assad regime, some have suggested that it has made a deal that will help it stay around longer. The USA has funded opposition to Assad. And directly and indirectly, the Obama Administration has taken steps which led to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now calling itself the Islamic State. This was an ‘unintended consequence’ as far as the US government is concerned, but the reality is that is what happened.
In the past, Russia was not optimistic about this type of UN peace plan–whereas others see Russia starting a major war (watch Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code)).
But what does the Bible teach about Syria?
Well, there are biblical prophecies that tell of the coming destruction to Syria’s capital Damascus:
7 thus says the Lord God: “It shall not stand, Nor shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus (Isaiah 7:7-8).
3 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. (Amos 1:3)
1 The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1)
23 Against Damascus. “Hamath and Arpad are shamed, 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.” (Jeremiah 49:23-27)
Damascus has been claimed to be the “oldest continuously inhabited city” in the world. And while some have questioned that claim, the reality is that Damascus has not been destroyed to the point of becoming the “ruinous heap” since God inspired Isaiah to record that would one day happen.
A ‘worse war’ is coming to Syria, at least as far as its capital Damascus is concerned.
The biblically prophesied devastation could come as the result of the current war with the Islamic State. It is possible that attacks against the Islamic State will encourage it to attack Damascus. Also if the Assad regime broadly uses chemical weapons and/or becomes engaged in a conflict with Israel and/or the West, that could also fulfill the above.
As I have been writing for years, the situation with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad will change. Ultimately, Syria looks like it will support a coalition of peoples that the Bible says will be led by the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43). Currently, Syria is fairly isolated from the Arab world.
The situation for the Arab and Islamic world will have ups and downs. The Bible tells of a time of a significant peace deal that will affect the region, but that deal will not last (Daniel 8:25, 9:27, 11:23-24; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27)–the currently proposed cease fire is NOT that deal. The Bible teaches that more war will later come after the Daniel 9:27 deal and will include a coalition of peoples such as the Sunni nations in the Arab world (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8).
While few wish to believe it, it will take the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God to truly solve the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. Destruction will hit Syria’s capital Damascus.