Four US destroyers are close to Syria preparing for a possible military strike. The USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Barry, and USS Ramage are all on station in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, awaiting orders from President Barack Obama. Defense officials have said that possible targets for the destroyers’ cruise missiles are Syrian weapons arsenals, command and control centers, radar and communications facilities, and other military headquarters.
The potential military strikes by the United States is in response to a reported chemical weapons attack in Syria that happened last Wednesday.
On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed the attack. UPI notes that Kerry condemned the country’s use of chemical weapons, blaming the government for the attack. However, Russian officials also warned the United States against military intervention in Syria.
The country drew comparisons between the current response in Syria and the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. But it appears that the United States may use cruise missiles aboard the destroyers as a warning to Syria, notes WTVR. President Obama warned last year that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for US involvement. He is also under pressure from members of Congress, particularly Senator John McCain (R-AZ), to respond with military force.
All four destroyers are based out of Naval Station Norfolk. The USS Mahan left las December for an eight-month deployment and was expected to return in the next week. However, the Navy told the Mahan to stay in position indefinitely for extra firepower. The Ramage left two weeks ago to relieve it. The USS Gravely is currently on its maiden deployment. It was expected to return home soon, but that has been delayed.
The USS Barry was on a six month deployment after it left for the Mediterranean in February. Its mission is also expected to be extended. The Ramage and Mahan destroyers both have cruise missiles, the weapon most talked about in the possible retaliation against Syria.