Russia says it’s monitoring U.S. naval movements toward Syria


By Middle East Affairs

The Russian military said Wednesday it was closely monitoring the movements of a U.S. naval strike force headed toward Syria, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Navy said Tuesday that the naval strike group, which was headed by the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, Reuters said, would head toward the Middle East and Europe beginning Wednesday. The Russian military predicts the U.S. military convoy will arrive in the Middle East by the start of May.

“We are attentively tracking the situation unfolding around Syria and in the whole region,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The statement also referenced an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump that the United States would likely respond to an alleged chemical attack in Syria with military action. Other Western countries are also discussion a unified response.

“Instead of talking about the coalition’s readiness to fire missiles at Syria, the United States would do better to rebuild the destroyed city (of Raqqa) and provide wide-ranging help to its suffering population,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia claims the suspected chemical weapons attack in the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma had been faked by the “White Helmets” organization, which is a civilian rescue group in Syria. Both Syria and Russia deny allegations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the attack in his seven-year civil war against several rebel groups.

Reuters reported that Russian military police plan to enter Douma on Thursday.

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