Syria Reportedly Relocates Warplanes Near Russian Air Base for Fear of U.S. Attack

Syrian authorities began moving their planes near Russia's Khmeimim air base shortly after the U.S. struck its aircraft following chemical attack, defense officials say

A Russian ground staff member signals to the pilot of a Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet at the Khmeimim airbase near Latakia, Syria, October 2015.
A Russian ground staff member signals to the pilot of a Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet at the Khmeimim airbase near Latakia, Syria, October 2015. Reuters

Syria has relocated most of its war planes near a Russian air base to protect them from a possible American strike, CNN quoted two American defense officials as saying.

According to CNN's report, Syrian authorities began moving the planes to an air base at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport, situated in Latakia near the Russian Khmeimim air base, shortly after the U.S. struck the site from which Washington suspects a chemical attack on Idlib originated.

Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired at Shayrat air base outside of Homs, Syria. Targets included "aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars," according to the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli officer said Wednesday it was difficult to believe that President Bashar Assad did not know about the chemical attack on Syrian civilians earlier this month. According to the officer, Israeli intelligence shows that the attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun involved sarin gas and was carried out by senior officers in the Syrian army.