The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

What could the US target in Syria and how is Russia likely to react?

After the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun attack, Donald Trump ordered a strike on the airfield that launched the Syrian jets involved. The 59 cruise missiles launched from US warships in the Mediterranean damaged runways and hangars at Shayrat but they were quickly repaired. That attack was largely symbolic.

If Trump orders a second strike, it will probably be more comprehensive. The US president will be keen to assert himself as a strongman if he feels his own red line has been crossed (comparisons to Barack Obama are too much for him). France too has previously said it would be prepared to act if the use of chemical weapons is proven.

Probable targets a second time round would be other Syrian airbases, and perhaps what remains of the air force itself. Whittled down and battered, the Syrian jet fleet has been heavily propped up by Russian fighters. Syria’s air defence system has been heavily damaged by Israeli attacks.

The US maintains a naval battle group in the eastern Mediterranean, well stocked with over-the-horizon missiles. It has a large number of jet fighters in Qatar and on carriers in the Gulf, which are deployed to bomb Isis. The politics of flying over Iraq or Saudi Arabia to bomb the Syrian regime may prove tricky. Missiles are a more likely option. They’re harder to shoot down and it matters little if they are. Striking from the west poses fewer problems all around. French jets could hit Syrian targets after taking off from French airfields. If Britain joins the fray, it has a base on nearby Cyprus, a short hop from Syria.

Read more at The Guardian

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.