By Bijan Razzaghi
Syrian and Russian forces have conducted a major withdraw from major military installations as a precaution in the wake of the possible allied air operation. Russian warships including destroyers, and frigates were observed leaving the port of Tartus. In addition Syrian airfields appear to have had their aircraft removed or relocated out of satellite view.
The major withdraw comes days after the United States and Allied Forces reviewed responses for the Douma Chemical attack that involved the use of Chlorine and various other agents. The delivery platforms of the chemical attack were likely Syrian Air Force strike aircraft possibly Su-22 Fitters or Su-24 Fencers. The airbase, which these aircraft are based, was hit in a limited Israeli strike earlier this week.
Russia has stated that the withdraw of forces from major installation’s is due to a major exercise underway in the Mediterranean. This exercise itself does not remove the threat of possible confrontation as US Navy Warships in the Mediterranean are now in closer proximity to Russia’s fleet.
The US and Russia have not had a direct confrontation between the two sides armed forces but Russian private contractors did engage the coalition forces in Khasham during a February 7th battle at an outpost near the coalition de-confliction line, in that battle over 200 Russian contractors were killed.