A decision to do something was not made, but a government official with direct knowledge of the current situation told CNN that the military could "react very quickly" if Syria launched a chemical weapons attack and provided the original target sighting data the Pentagon a head start if the president decides to take action.
US officials point out that they fear that an impending attack by the Assad regime on the rebel stronghold of Idlib could involve the use of chemical weapons if the rebels can slow down the progress of the regime. The regime has moved armed helicopters closer to Idlib in recent weeks, so two defenders. The US fears that they may be used to launch another chemical attack with chlorine-filled keg bombs, even though they are easily accessible for a conventional attack.
Officials also say they fear that an attack on the city could be done with conventional weapons, leaving thousands dead and deepening the humanitarian crisis along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Diplomatic tensions with Russia also increase over Idlib. On Friday, US Foreign Minister Pompeo warned the Russian Foreign Minister on Twitter, "Sergey Lavrov is defending Syria and Russia's attack on Idlib, and the Russians and Assad have agreed not to allow it, with the US escalating an already dangerous conflict." [1
9659005] The Pentagon also closely observes Russian military maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian Ministry of Defense says that 26 battleships and more than 30 bombers will be part of what the Russians will call large-scale.
A US official with direct knowledge of recent assessments tells CNN that the US may have believed the Russians were involved in building warships to be ready for what they did in response to the Assad regime ” src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-small-169.jpg” src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-medium-plus-169.jpg” src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-large-169.jpg” src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-exlarge-169.jpg” src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-super-169.jpg” src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-full-169.jpg” src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171121092548-03-putin-assad-1121-restricted-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″/>
If the Russians there have so many ships, they can try to use their radars to cover this area and "see" potential US Tomahawk missiles, says the official. One scenario that the US is considering is that Russian ship radars could use Russian S-400 air defense systems on the ground in Syria and try to launch US missiles.
This would give the Russians a better chance to launch US missiles than in April 2018, when Russia was unsuccessful after the US, Britain and France after alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in the Damascus Enclave Douma against targets at three locations had been on strike.
The US intelligence agencies have a very good understanding of what the Russians are trying to do with this seaborne strategy, officials CNN say. It is also known that the US military could use countermeasures and electronic warfare against Russian military efforts. In the April strike against Syrian chemical expats, US and Allied ships and aircraft were fired not only from the Mediterranean, but also from the Red Sea and the Gulf of North Africa to prevent discovery by the Russians
According to US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, the State Department has concerns over an "escalation" of any violence in Idlib with the Russian government. "We have shared the concerns we have about a possible offensive and shared these concerns with the Russian government on many levels," she said Wednesday.
While US intelligence continues to look at Russia's military strategy and motivation, the official also points out that the Russian Navy's presence contradicts any public statements made by Moscow about the situation. The US considers this step by the Russians as proof that they actually know that the regime will be responsible if chemical weapons are used.
The US has stated that they will hold the Assad regime accountable for using chemical weapons in an attempt to retake Idlib, an NSC official said. National Security Advisor John Bolton also issued a public warning and said last week in Israel, "In order for there to be no confusion, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons, we will react very strongly and they should really think about it long before they get to come to a decision because the US position on this point is not ambiguous. "