Syria emptying air bases ahead of possible US strike: monitor

Syria emptying air bases ahead of possible US strike: monitor
The Syrian army is reportedly clearing out military air bases, as Western powers mull retaliation for a suspected regime chemical attack.
2 min read
12 April, 2018
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad posing with Vladimir Putin and Russian air force pilots [Getty]
Syria's military is repositioning its airforce assets over fears of a possible US missile strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday in Eastern Ghouta that left as many as 60 dead. 

US officials said it was not clear whether the news would impact a US military strike against Syria, according to Reuters.

The Syrian moves could limit the damage a potential US strike might inflict on the regime's assets.

On Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said regime forces were emptying out the country's main airports and military air bases near Damascus.

In a series of tweets, US President Donald Trump has warned Syria and its Russian ally that missiles "will be coming". He also criticised Russia for standing by President Bashar al-Assad despite his alleged use of chemical weapons to gas his own people.

"The president holds Assad and the Russians responsible for the attack," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.

The Syrian regime has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons during Syria's now seven-year war, with Russia calling Saturday's alleged attack "fake news" and staged by the White Helmets rescue group.

However, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism previously attributed the April 2017 Khan Sheikhoun sarin attacks as well as prior chemical weapons use to the Syrian regime. 

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