MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – By redeploying its USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and four other ships, the United States shows its determination to start a military campaign in Syria, a senior Russian lawmaker has said.
Reuters reported on Monday, citing unnamed defense officials, that the Nimitz and supporting ships entered the Red Sea at about 10:00 GMT. The task force, however, had not received any orders to move into the Mediterranean, where five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship, the USS San Antonio, remain poised for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria.
“By sending the Nimitz nucelear aircraft carrier to Syria’s shores, Obama demonstrates that the military action has been postponed, but not cancelled, and that he is determined to start a war,” said Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.
US President Barack Obama on Saturday formally requested the Congress to approve a military operation in Syria. In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he had decided that the United States should take military action against targets in Syria, reiterating US assertions that the government of President Bashar Assad was to blame for the apparent use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday compared the situation in Syria to “a barrel of gunpowder, to which a fire is approaching.”
“Nobody knows what would happen [after the US strike]. Everyone will lose control of the situation when this gunpowder barrel explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread, and there is a risk that the whole region will plunge into a war,” he said.
Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group, a close ally of Assad’s regime said it was mobilizing and redeploying its forces to prepare for a potential US military action, Agence France-Presse said. Citing the Al-Akhbar daily, close to both Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, the agency said the group had "called on all its officers and members to man their positions."
Hezbollah members have long been fighting alongside Syrian troops and against rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.