A U.S. air and naval strike force — the largest since the 2003 Iraq War — is headed toward Syria, according to a Times of London report.
Less than a week after a suspected chemical attack on civilians in the rebel-held suburb of Damascus, an armada of 12 United States warships, including aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, sailed from the United States in the direction of the Middle East.
“(T)he USS Harry S Truman, a nuclear-powered carrier with 90 aircraft and five escort ships, which set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday, could be included in any action by the end of next week,” the Times reported.
New York Post Armada of US warships steaming toward Middle East New York Post An armada of 12 warships – the largest US strike force since the 2003 Iraq war – is steaming toward the Middle East as President Trump mulls an attack on Syria in retaliation… https://t.co/TVF6FjV0zL pic.twitter.com/M78rhON2lw
— Hurshal (@Hurshal) April 13, 2018
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned Russia that missiles will be headed for Syria in retaliation against the suspected chemical attack.
“Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” Trump tweeted. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Trump added to his earlier warning on Thursday, noting that he did not specify when an attack would take place.
“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place,” the president tweeted. “Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
Later on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president had met with his national security advisers but had not made a final decision.
“No final decision has been made,” Sanders said. “We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies.”
However, as noted by the Times, the mobilization of this new fleet of warships will give Trump “the option for a significant military campaign against Assad.”
Russia has indicated that it will shoot back at missiles from the U.S. or its allies.
“Russia will execute the statement of its president related to any U.S. aggression against Syria, knocking down American missiles and striking at the sources of fire,” Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, told the Lebanese television channel Al Manar.
Trump has said that he wants to pull troops out of Syria, but the chemical attack has left him with few options.
“It’s too bad the world puts us in a situation like that,” the president said.
“We’ve done a great job with ISIS, absolutely decimated ISIS, now we have to make further decisions. They’ll be made soon.”
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