(National Sentinel) Withdrawal: Russian and Syrian forces are abandoning key military bases and facilities ahead of an expected strike by the United States in response for the Syrian government’s alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held enclave last week.
Earlier, Russian officials had threatened to retaliate against the U.S. if an attack was launched against the Syrian government, which is a client of Moscow.
And while that remains a possibility, Russian and Syrian forces are nevertheless attempting to get out of harm’s way, according to multiple sources and intelligence data.
The Times of Israel reported:
Syrian President Bashar Assad was bracing Wednesday for an American strike, after President Donald Trump tweeted that the US would be launching missiles at Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma over the weekend.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that pro-government forces were evacuating major airports and military airbases.
In addition, according to i24 News, Syrian government forces are relocated to bases where Russian forces are located:
The Syrian military is said to be evacuating its bases near the Lebanon border and transporting its personnel to Russian army sites amid growing concern over an imminent US strike, an expected reprisal for the alleged chemical attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday.
Reports in a French newspaper Le Figaro stated that Assad put his forces “on alert” for the next three days as the regime army began on Monday, to evacuate its major air bases thought to be possible targets for a US attack.
“According to a UN source, Syrian military planes were also transferred to the Russian Khmeimim air base, near Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast, in Assad’s stronghold,” Le Figaro wrote.
According to Fox News, commercial satellite images showed Russian warships steaming out of their Syrian base at Tartus in the Mediterranean Sea.
Satellite photos show Russian warships leaving port in Syria. pic.twitter.com/ES5cVfhV03
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 11, 2018
As many as 11 Russian warships and submarines are said to have left the Tartus naval base as the USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer armed with at least 60 Tomahawks, and a U.S. aircraft carrier group stream towards waters within range of Syria.
According to the Moscow Times, the Russian fleet is expected to stage a large live-fire exercise near Syria. It’s not clear whether those exercises were pre-scheduled or are in response to potential U.S. military action.
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