US naval assets converging on the Eastern Med, Syrian skies full of Russian air force assets
- USS Donald Cook is already there, at least another guided missile destroyer, USS Porter (which took part in last year's strikes on Syria) has been diverted and is on the way
The US is mulling several options for striking Syria in response to a suspected chemical-weapons attack in Douma, which Washington blames on Damascus.
The next few days may see already a second US Navy destroyer entering the Mediterranean Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources at the Pentagon.
“The US already has one guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, in the eastern Mediterranean, where it could take part in any strike on Syria, according to US defense officials. A second, the USS Porter could get there in a few days,” the newspaper wrote.
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet wrote that Russian warplanes had allegedly buzzed the Donald Cook at least four times, but the report was later denied by the Pentagon.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Russia and Iran of providing support to the Syrian President Bashar Assad and said that he would make a decision within 48 hours on how to respond to Saturday’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma which Damascus is being blamed for. He didn’t rule out a military option.
Moscow and Damascus dismissed reports of a chlorine bomb allegedly dropped by Syrian warplanes on Douma, with the Russian Foreign Ministry describing them as an attempt to help the terrorists and justify possible military intervention in Syria from abroad.
On March 13, Russia’s military chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov, said that Moscow had intelligence about militants in Eastern Ghouta preparing a mock-up chemical attack in the area.
The senior official added that the US could use the fake attack as a pretext for striking out at government quarters in Damascus.