A Twitter account of the Mil Radar, which tracks military aviation flights, has reported that seven US patrol planes have allegedly conducted reconnaissance missions in the Eastern Mediterranean over Syria's coast.
The six P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft and the EP-3E Aries II electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft reportedly flew over the area where Russia's Hmeymin Airbase and the logistics base of the Russian Navy in Tartus are located.
12 APR: US Navy P-8A 168439 PS056 departed Sigonella at 1845z — Eastern Mediterranean mission pic.twitter.com/ZNNzyV8gQD— Mil Radar (@MIL_Radar) 12 апреля 2018 г.
Russian and US officials have not commented on the reports, which came after the CNBC news network cited a source as saying on the condition of anonymity that the US is considering striking eight potential targets in Syria. These may include two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility.
Earlier on his Twitter page, President Donald Trump urged Russia to get ready for "new and smart" US missiles to be launched at Syria, a message that was followed by Trump tweeting that Washington's relationship with Moscow "is worse now than it has ever been," including during the Cold War.
Reacting to Trump's messages, the Russian President's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that Moscow "does not support Twitter diplomacy." He called for a more serious approach in order to avoid escalating an "already fragile situation."
Shortly after, Trump declared in a new tweet that the attack on Syria "could be very soon or not so soon at all" and that he has "never said when an attack on Syria would take place."
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for her part, said in a statement on Thursday that Trump has not yet made a final decision on the use of force against Syria and is still looking at the intelligence information.
Both Damascus and Moscow have rejected the allegations as a false flag, with the Russian Defense Ministry earlier reporting that an analysis of Douma soil, which was taken shortly after the alleged chemical weapons attack, indicated the absence of nerve agents and chlorine-containing poisonous substances in the area.