US, France, UK prepare air, navy units for sustained assault in Syria
Apr 10, 2018
US President Donald Trump’s “major decision” on Syria is contingent on the rallying of sufficient air and naval strength and allied participation. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the only US warship immediately available for the promised US military response to Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Douma is the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, which sailed from Larnaca Monday, April 9, on its way to the eastern Mediterranean. The USS Iwo Jima strike group, which visited Haifa last month, is now cruising in the Arabian Sea, days away from the scene, whereas the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group only departs the US port for the Middle East on Wednesday, April 11, and is not due in the Mediterranean before next week.
The Trump administration is negotiating with Britain, France and other allies, including Arab governments, for their roles in the Syrian operation. Our Washington sources report that the commander-in-chief is looking at a major operation in Syria, to unfold over several days and lead to a concerted allied assault on the Iranian military presence embedded in that country. This extended goal may give US allies pause.