(National Sentinel) Great Powers: The USS Donald Cook, a U.S. Navy destroyer laden with 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles, has dropped anchor off the coast of Syria near its territorial waters as tension escalates following an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime days ago.
The warship, an Arleigh Burke-class vessel with sophisticated attack and defense systems, has also been harassed by low-flying Russian warplanes which have buzzed the ship at least four times, according to CNN Turk.
“It is claimed that the US Donald Cook-named destroyer left Cyprus’s Larnaca port and landed near Syrian territorial waters. It was claimed that the missile destroyer named ‘Arleigh Burke’ class Donald Cook (DDG-75) reached Tallus 100 kilometers and had 60 Tomahawk fuses on board,” noted a translation of the story.
A U.S. Navy source confirmed the Donald Cook’s deployment with the Washington Examiner, who noted that the warship finished a port call in Cyprus and sailed to its present position as the Trump administration decides how to respond to the chemical attack.
About a year ago, Trump ordered a Tomahawk strike against a Syrian airbase after the Assad regime used chemical weapons to attack a rebel-held enclave, similar to what the regime is accused of doing over the weekend.
Notes the Washington Examiner‘s national security correspondent Jaimie McEntyre:
U.S. military planners have drawn up more than one option for possible military action against Syria, including a strike similar to last year’s attack in which 59 sea-launched cruise missiles inflicted heavy damage on a Syrian Air Force airfield in Homs.
Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the options now are similar to those presented to President Trump after last year’s chemical attack in northern Syria that killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
But officials said the president could decide to choose a more robust option this time, given that Syrian President Bashar Assad didn’t seem to get the message last time.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that as of April 5, according to geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor, no additional U.S. naval assets were in the vicinity of the Donald Cook.
Meanwhile, Russia’s tone has turned aggressive, as well as its actions. As noted by Reuters:
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Monday that Moscow has warned the United States of “grave repercussions” if it carries out an attack against Syrian government forces over reports of a deadly chemical weapons attack.
“There was no chemical weapons attack,” Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council.
“Through the relevant channels we already conveyed to the U.S. that armed force under mendacious pretext against Syria – where, at the request of the legitimate government of a country, Russian troops have been deployed – could lead to grave repercussions,” he said.
Local reporting also notes substantial Russian military activity.
#BREAKING now intensive flights of Russian aircrafts along the Syrian coast & over Khmeimim base, in addition to the intense flights of military aircrafts belonging to the Assad regime in the sky of Homs. There is great anticipation from Assad and Russia for a possible blow. #USA,” tweeted Eva J. Koulouriotis, a Middle East political analyst.
now intensive flights of Russian aircrafts along the Syrian coast & over Khmeimim base, in addition to the intense flights of military aircrafts belonging to the Assad regime in the sky of Homs. There is great anticipation from Assad and Russia for a possible blow.#USA pic.twitter.com/isYVMsosje
— Eva J. Koulouriotis (@evacool_f) April 9, 2018