(Zaman Al Wasl)- A well-informed source said Syrian regime forces are on alert amid fears of an imminent U.S. strike, resulted in an immediate deploying for its advanced air defenses around the capital and near the Republican Palace.
Most advanced air defenses were deployed in Mezzeh military airport. The source said six defense systems were stationed, including Russian Pantsir-S2 defense system which is a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti- aircraft artillery weapon"
Syrian Air Force backed by Iran and Russia has been working on developing its air defence since shooting down the Israeli F-16 in February.
President Donald Trump on Monday threatened a military strike against the Assad regime, declaring that Russia or any other nation found to share responsibility for Saturday's apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma town will "pay a price," AP reported.
The White House sharply rejected any suggestion that Trump's own words about pulling U.S. troops out of Syria had opened the door for the attack, which killed more than 40 people, including children.
Trump, asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin bore any responsibility, responded, "He may, yeah, he may. And if he does it's going to be very tough, very tough." He added, "Everybody's gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will."
The United States, meanwhile, urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution that would condemn the continuing use of chemical weapons in Syria "in the strongest terms" and establish a new body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks. The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, was circulated ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting.
An American official said the U.S. was discussing with allies whether they would participate in a retaliatory strike. If Trump decides to proceed quickly, the most likely partner would be France rather than Britain, because of concerns about obtaining permission from Parliament, said the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the planning publicly and requested anonymity.
The White House deliberations came as Russia and the regime military blamed Israel for a pre-dawn missile attack on a major air base in central Syria, saying Israeli fighter jets launched missiles from Lebanon's air space. A group that monitors Syria's civil war said the airstrikes killed 14 people, including Iranians active in Syria.
Regime-run news agency SANA initially said that attack on the T4 air base was likely "an American aggression," but Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood quickly denied the United States was behind the strike and the agency then dropped the accusation, blaming Israel instead.
In February, Israel hit the T4 military airport in the Syrian desert, killing seven Iranians, including pilots and experts interrelation to F-16 downing, sources told Zaman al-Wasl.
As U.S. officials consider whether and how to respond, they are looking at what type of chemical agent might have been used. When Trump ordered airstrikes last year after a chemical weapons attack, it was a response to the use of sarin gas, which is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention that Syria has signed. An attack with chlorine, which can be used as a weapon but is not outright banned by the treaty, could raise precedent issues, as there have been numerous recent allegations of chlorine attacks in Syria that have drawn no response from the Trump administration.
-Russia stores prohibited weapons near Damascus-
Russia has supplied the Syrian regime with high advanced weapons and ammunition, including toxic gases, during its deadly offensive on Eastern Ghouta suburbs, a military source told Zaman al-Wasl Sunday.
The weapons, which had been stored in Al-Dumayr and Al-Seen military airports in March, east of the capital, included (toxic gases, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, Incendiary bombs).
Al-Seen, or Sayqal airport, is the most important airport in Syria and one of the largest military airports in Asia.
Russia has restricted the use of its weapons to special attacks under its command.
More weapons have been transferred since March until now, according to the source, to depots under the supervision of a special technical group responsible for the receipt and storage and loading on aircraft and directly follow to General Bassam Haider, the commander of the Division 20 in Al-Dumayr town.