US spy planes deployed to Syrian coast amid 'chemical attack' fears

US spy planes deployed to Syrian coast amid 'chemical attack' fears
The US has deployed spy planes and intelligence gathering equipment to the Syrian coast, as Washington warns the regime might be planning a chemical attack on rebel-held territory.
2 min read
29 June, 2017
US spy planes have been sent to the Syrian coast [Getty]
Three of the US air force's prized spy planes have been deployed to the Syrian coast, as tensions between Washington and Damascus mount.

The US intelligence build-up comes after Washington claimed the Syrian regime was plotting another chemical attack on rebel-held territories from an airbase in Homs province. 

The White House warned that the Syrian regime would pay a "heavy price" if it went ahead with the plans.

It follows a sarin gas attack on an opposition-held village in Idlib province in April, leaving up to 100 civilians dead.

Intelligence planes deployed to the region appear aimed at monitoring Syrian regime movements at al-Shayrat in Homs province, where the White House said there has been an up-tick in activity.

This is the airbase that the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack was allegedly launched from and which was partially destroyed in a retaliatory US cruise missile strike. 

Washington reportedly deployed RC-135 aircraft and a P-8 Poseidon spy plane to the Syrian coast this week to snoop on Syrian regime forces, according to The Aviationist.

It coincided with President Bashar al-Assad's visit to a Russian airbase in Latakia province, where the regime leader posed in the cockpit of a SU-35 fighter jet.

Syrian regime war planes flew into the base following the US cruise missile attack, to be placed under Russian protection.

Not far away, off Syria's Mediterranean coast, the US was eavesdropping on Damascus' radio signals, pinpointing movements, and "dissemina[ting] the details about these targets".

A US WC-135 aircraft was also reportedly heading in the direction of the Syrian coast, which is capable of "sniffing out" chemical and nuclear particles in the event of another attack.

It comes as the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier docked in at Israel's Haifa port with a crew of 5,700 and around 90 planes and helicopters.

The carrier was been used to launch airstrikes on Islamic State group territories in Syria and Iraq.