ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 55

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Damascus air defenses said placed on high alert for fear of US attack

Russia claims US is readying strike on Syrian government forces following ‘staged chemical weapons attack’

In this image provided by the US Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/US Navy via AP)
In this image provided by the US Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/US Navy via AP)

Syrian air defenses were placed on high alert Monday, according to a report in the pro-regime news site Al Masdar. A source told the newspaper that the Mazzeh airbase was preparing to defend against a possible US missile attack on Damascus.

Earlier in the day a top Russian official said the US was bolstering its military forces in the Middle East in preparation for a strike against Syrian government forces, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters, “the US is making preparations for a missile attack on Syria, which will follow after a staged chemical weapons attack in the province of Idlib, blamed on the Syrian government.”

Konashenkov says the USS Ross entered the Mediterranean yesterday, armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Syria.

In April 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike against a Syrian military airbase in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack that the US and other western countries blame on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

And in April 2018, missiles struck an air base in central Syria, its state-run news agency reported. Although the agency said it was likely “an American aggression,” US officials said the US had not launched airstrikes on Syria.

The missile attack followed a suspected poison gas attack Saturday on the last remaining foothold for the Syrian opposition in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. At least 40 people were killed, including families found in their homes and shelters, opposition activists and local rescuers said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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