THE BURDEN OF DAMASCUS
Gen. Allen: Syria gassing Israel would be ‘virtually a regime suicide’
April 21, 2017 — The Jerusalem Post reports: “The US response to a scenario in which the Syrian regime was ‘gassing Israelis would result in a situation that he [Bashar Assad] could not even imagine,’ and be ‘virtually regime suicide,’ Marine Corps Gen. (ret.) John R. Allen told The Jerusalem Post.
Allen, one of the US’s leading voices on security issues, spoke to the Post last week and on Thursday, and discussed whether recent events made a Syrian chemical weapons strike on Israel more or less likely.
The former general was the Obama administration’s special envoy in fighting ISIS and on finding security solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US commander in Afghanistan, and is currently a distinguished fellow and chairman of security and strategy at the Brookings Institution.
The circumstances Allen was confronted with were the combination of the Assad regime’s recent use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels and revelations that it may possess one to three tons of chemical weapons, along with the Trump administration’s military response.
He said straight out that recent events meant there ‘would be a lesser chance’ that Assad would launch such a strike against Israel. ‘Were Assad to lash out at Israel and the Israeli population with chemical weapons, it would be virtually a suicidal act for his regime. The enormity of the US response would be unprecedented.
‘People need to understand that. I don’t think Assad is stupid. I am careful to ascribe irrationality to any leader – most are rational within their own context,’ Allen said, predicting that the strength of the US respond to Assad would be manifested ‘in ways people can’t even begin to contemplate.’…” (President Assad, there is a prophecy which is yet to occur found in Isaiah’s prediction in chapter 17, verse 1: “…Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” It looks like Israel will win over missiles and chemical warfare. See the next two reports.)
Syria war: ‘Israeli strike’ hits military site near Damascus airport
April 27, 2017 — BBC News reports: “An Israeli missile strike has caused a large explosion and fire at a military site near Damascus international airport, Syrian state media report.
A fuel tank and warehouses were damaged, the Sana news agency said.
But Syrian rebel sources said an arms depot run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which is fighting in Syria as an ally of the government, was hit.
Israel said the explosion was ‘consistent’ with its policy to prevent Iran smuggling weapons to Hezbollah.
But it stopped short of confirming it was responsible…”
Syrian Rebels, Families Begin to Evacuate Besieged Damascus Neighborhood
May 8, 2017 — Haaretz reports: “Hundreds of Syrian rebel fighters began a process of leaving the besieged Damascus suburb of Barzeh on Monday as part of an evacuation deal agreed with the government, state television and a war monitor reported.
State-run Ekhbariya television cited its reporter there as saying the evacuation of fighters from Barzeh for the rebel-held Idlib province in northwest Syria had begun to be implemented but without giving further details.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported that buses had arrived in Barzeh at dawn and a group of hundreds of fighters and their family members had started to board them.
The Observatory said more people would leave Barzeh over the coming days as part of the same deal.
Barzeh is in northeast Damascus near the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta oasis district of towns and farms and has been the site of intense fighting between insurgents and the Syrian army in recent months…”