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ip_forward?? Do you know what ip forwarding is? That's certainly NOT relevant here.
So I seem to ask for 2 things each time and get one of them.... DOES THE SYN REACH THE SERVER?
Either way though, Looking at the rulebase there you've nothing at all to permit ssh access fromt what I can see. adn... eth15?!?!?! wow!
Thats good what you suggested, but still i don't have to consider your question in any way, one should know the most possible causes of a non working setup and i knew'em mostly and if i did'nt i will learn.
NO issue at all but only i can say here is we should always try to figure out the correct cause and if we are not known of something we should first search on it rather to question anyone.
so yet again only answering one of two parts of my reply, you have NO RULE to permit ssh access to the server in your iptables ruleset.
Also, it helps with diagnosis if your chain ends with REJECT instead of DROP. Because --policy only allows DROP, you have to add REJECT explicitly to the end of the INPUT and OUTPUT chains. That way, if the filter is the part blocking your access, you will get a response immediately rather than having to spend time waiting for it to time out.