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U.S. President Trump has been very firm against chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime in its fight against the Sunni Islamic opposition. American forces have attacked Assad’s military twice with large cruise missile barrages since Trump took office, in stark relief to President Obama’s imaginary ‘red line’. As Assad tries to wipe out the resistance in the southern provinces, the U.S. has warned against further chemical weapons use, declaring it would retaliate. In response, Moscow has moved a large naval presence into the Mediterranean to counter such a threat from the U.S. military and NATO alliance.
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“These preparations are a new confirmation of the US intention to take advantage of the staging of the militants” Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham “(the new name of the terrorist group” Jebhat an Nusra “banned in Russia) for a missile strike against Syria,” declared the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov, reported Russian news outlet Kommersant.
The narrative coming out of Moscow is that the U.S. is preparing for a ‘false flag’ attack to falsely accuse Assad of using chemical weapons. This has been the line coming out of Damascus and the Kremlin each time chemical weapons are used by the Assad regime.
“The United States, Great Britain and France can not change the fact that Assad regained control over the large territory of Syria, but they do not want to accept the fact that he will remain in power. They do not have political levers to influence the situation, but they can discredit the Syrian regime. The charge of using chemical weapons is a reliable tool, “Maxim Souchkov, editor of the Russian version of Al-Monitor (USA), told Kommersant.
To prepare for possible U.S. strikes, the Kommersant newspaper reported that the Russian military had moved its Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems and two frigates carrying Kalibr cruise missiles to Syria.
“This is the most powerful grouping since the beginning of the operation,” the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper said, reported The Moscow Times.
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CNN quoted the Pentagon spokesman as saying that the Russian Defense Ministry report on a U.S. build-up is “nothing more than propaganda.”
“That does not mean, however, that we are unprepared to respond should the President direct such an action,” spokesman Eric Pahon was quoted as saying, wrote The Moscow Times.