Ali Khamenei; Bashar al-Assad; Vladimir Putin

Trackers show all civilian aircraft ceasing flights over Syria

With war drums beating ever louder, the EU's air traffic control body, Eurocontrol, has issued a 72-hour Rapid Alert Notification to flight operators in the eastern Mediterranean - warning of possible rocket launches into Syria.

Published: April 11, 2018, 8:57 am

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    “Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” the alert states.

    Avia trackers show all civilian aircraft ceased flights over Syria except for Doha and Beirut.

    According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House is preparing to strike Syria in response to fake reports that allegedly on April 7, in the vicinity of the city of the Douma, chemical weapons were used. Washington has accused Damascus officially of a response to the “chemical attack”.

    Russia had already warned of a rebel attack being planned as a false flag a number of days prior.

    The United States of America has identified 22 targets of paramount importance on the territory of Syria, according to the Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak, citing an expert on international relations, Zakariya Molakhavchi.

    According to Molokhavchi, Americans could strike regions in Syria where Kurdish forces or Syrian government forces or Shiite militiamen are concentrated.

    According to the Turkish expert, the destruction Syrian air defenses would shift the balance of power. At the same time, he noted that the Pentagon took into account that Russia has increased the level of combat readiness of its forces at the airbase of Khmeimim and other military facilities in Syria.

    Among the potential targets are those located in the region of Homs, as well as in the area of ​​the Russian Navy in Tartus where many Russian servicemen are stationed.

    The US Navy P-8A Poseidon, a long-range reconnaissance aircraft, has been carrying out multi-hour flights near the coast of Syria, where the Russian air base Khmeimim and the logistics base of the port of Tartus are located.

    The spy plane with the onboard number 168439 flew from the Sigonella airbase on the Italian island of Sicily and is carrying out reconnaissance flights at an altitude of 8 000 meters, circling the distance of 40 kilometers from the air base of Khmeimim and the Russian Navy base.

    Its flight path crosses over the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

    The US could bomb the area of ​​Homs, Damascus, Tartus, Hama, El-Hasaka, Deir-ez-Zor and Raqqa. The United States, Great Britain, France and Israel have agreed that military aerodromes should also be subjected to bombing.

    According to Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the US Department of Defense, a Navy strike group, headed by aircraft carrier Harry S Truman, is on its way to Syria via the Mediterranean coast.

    The Turkish press reported that a 100 kilometers from the Russian base in Tartus, there is also the American destroyer Donald Cook, equipped with 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    Britain too, has readied its troops on the island of Cyprus for a collective strike by Western countries on Syria.

    The Turkish newspaper warned that the blow against Syria will be inflicted by the troops of the United States, Britain and France within the next 24 hours.

    The Russian military has been blocking American drones in Syria for several weeks now, utilisig special equipment that blocks the operation of GPS receivers. As a result, operators receive incorrect geolocation data, causing drones to crash.

    The jamming has had a significant impact on US operations in Syria. Despite the fact that the drones are equipped with means against jamming of signals, these do not work against Russian systems and the military has been forced to take additional measures to protect their drone aircraft.

    “The US military maintains sufficient countermeasures and protections to ensure the safety of our manned and unmanned aircraft, our forces and the missions they support,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told NBC.

    The Russian jamming technique is very sophisticated, military officials said. It has even proven effective against some encrypted signals and anti-jamming receivers. Most of the drones impacted so far have been surveillance drones, not Predator or Reaper drones.

    Russia appears to have received warning as Russian military helicopters are reportedly relocating from the T-4 – which was struck by Israel on Monday morning – and Dumeyir airbases in Southern Syria to Khmeimim.

    Russia has meanwhile vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to investigate the chemical attack. Russia’s UN envoy says the draft was designed to fail, which would thus “justify” unauthorised action in Syria.

    Russia appears to be making preparations for an imminent, US-led attack and according to unconfirmed reports, there have been intensive flights of Russian aircraft along the Syrian coast as well as over Khmeimim base, in addition ot the intense flights of Syrian military aircraft over Homs.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in security consultations on Monday that President Trump will in all likelihood order a military strike on Syria. Israel published a formal statement blaming president Assad for the attack on Monday night as a consequence of this assessment by Netanyahu.

    In the eastern Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian coast, there are now 11 American vessels ready and waiting for the Trump speech from Pentagon to start the military strike against the democratically elected president Assad.

    The Russian ambassador at the UNSC meeting on Tuesday warned the US and its allies against launching a military action in Syria, bypassing the UN, after the Security Council turned down a compromise resolution on Syria, proposed by Sweden and seconded by Russia seeking investigation on the supposed chemical attack.

    Five countries supported the resolution with only two permanent members – United States and Britain – opposing it. Six countries abstained, making it a significant political and diplomatic victory for those suporting the Swedish resolution.

    “If you made a decision to carry out an illegal military endeavor, we hope, hope that you will come to your senses. You will be responsible for it yourselves,” Vassily Nebenzia said.

    The UN has refused to confirm any chemical attack and both Russia and Syrian have insisted that there has been no attack. The Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been called in for an international investigation and the OPCW has accepted the joint Syrian and Russian invitation.

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