Russian and Syrian forces are reportedly bracing for an imminent American strike in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians in the suburbs of Damascus.
Pro-government forces are said to be evacuating from major airports and military air bases, according to the Times of Israel, citing reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Additionally, Syria is moving military aircraft to Russian bases to ensure their survival, i24 News revealed.
At the same time, satellite images of Russia’s Tartus naval base in Syria show that Russia has withdrawn all eleven warships from the base, Fox News reports, relying on satellite photos from Israel-based ImageSat International.
Satellite photos show Russian warships leaving port in Syria. pic.twitter.com/ES5cVfhV03
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 11, 2018
Moscow reports that the Russian Navy is expected to hold a major naval firing drill off the coast of Syria, which could potentially explain the sudden departures from Tartus.
Over the weekend, a suspected chlorine gas attack on Douma in Eastern Ghoutta left at least 70 dead and affected another five hundred people. The Trump administration has blamed the attack on the Syrian regime led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who stands accused of committing a number of human rights atrocities during the Syrian Civil War.
President Donald Trump has threatened a forceful response, leading many to conclude that the president intends to conduct a strike similar to the one carried out after a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria in April 2017.
Potentially speaking out of turn, a Russian diplomat warned that Russia will shoot down U.S. rockets, prompting a furious response on Twitter from the president.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook is said to be moving into position near Syrian territory, and Syrian and Russian troops are reportedly on high alert as a punitive U.S. response looms.
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