The Syrian government has relocated most of the combat planes near Russian air base in Syria to protect them from possible US strikes.
The movement of the airship to the air base at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport started soon after the US’s April 6 Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Sharat air base, which demolished around 24 Syrian warplanes.
The most of Syria operational aircrafts will be located next to Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base, where the most of the Russian air force helping ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’ regime are based, in Latakia Governorate, Syria.
The Khmeimim base, along with a naval facility in Tartus, is one of two of the primary Russian army bases in Syria.The Russians have reportedly stationed advanced anti-aircrafts missile systems at the base.
While the motive behind the move is obvious, CNN in any case calls attention to out:” The regime in Damascus may be calculating that the US would be more reluctant to strike in close proximity to the Russian troops and their anti-aircraft systems.”
Two weeks ago, the US warned Moscow via pre-established channel in advance of its April 6 cruise missile strike in order to prevent any Russian casualties.It came days after Syria’s rebel held Khan Sheikhoun territory of Idlib region experience a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 people.
US defense officials have previously said that the its retaliatory strike weakened approximately 20% of the regime’s operational fixed-wing aircraft, making the conservation of the rest of the planes absolutely critical to Damascus.
“The Syrian Air Force is not in good shape. It’s been worn down by years of combat plus some … significant maintenance problems,” Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
The US has not precluded extra strikes against the regime should it opt to use chemical weapons in the future.
“The Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly in violation of international law against the use of chemical weapons,” Mattis said, later adding: “If they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price.”