Russia and Syria are reportedly removing military personnel and equipment from key bases in the region in anticipation of possible air strikes by the United States.
The U.S. military action would come in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s military last week.
Satellite photo images obtained by Fox News show 11 Russian warships based in the Syrian port town of Tartus have apparently put out to sea in the last 24 hours.
Satellite photos show Russian warships leaving port in Syria. pic.twitter.com/ES5cVfhV03
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 11, 2018
Additionally, Syria is moving military aircraft and personnel to Russian bases in the country to protect them from the United States, according to i24 News.
Russia is believed to have approximately 3,000 military personnel deployed in Syria.
Both its Khmeimim air base in northern Syria and its Tartus naval facility are protected by surface-to-air anti-missile systems, Russian Television reported.
The U.S. missile strikes against Syria’s Sharyat airfield in April 2017 succeeded in destroying 20 percent of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s air force, based on Pentagon estimates.
The Moscow Times reported that the Russian Navy planned to conduct firing drills off the coast of Syria on Wednesday, in an apparent show of force to try to deter American action.
“Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon said the Russian military would shoot down U.S. missiles and target launch sites if the U.S. attacked Syria,’ according to The Times.
The warning prompted Trump to tweet, “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!”
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
On Thursday, the president appeared to take step back regarding the imminence of an attack on Syria. “It could be soon or not so soon at all,” he tweeted.
During a meeting at the White House Thursday morning, Trump said he and his national security team are “looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we’ll see what happens.”
"We're looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we'll see what happens, folks. We'll see what happens. It's too bad that the world puts us in a position like that."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 12, 2018
Trump said the decision on retaliation against Syria would be made “fairly soon.”
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