Damascus readies itself for attack
Syrian army soldiers are seen deployed in the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus on August 24, 2013. (AFP)
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A Syrian activist said that armored vehicles and trucks laden with soldiers have left Damascus International Airport on Wednesday and were headed to the nearby town of Huran al-Awameen.
Damascus International Airport has three army bases in its vicinity.
Syrian activist Mamoun al-ghoutani told Reuters that the airport’s lights were switched off.
Residents and opposition sources told Reuters that government forces have transferred most of their personnel away from security command headquarters in Damascus, readying themselves for a possible international military strike.
In the capital, residents and a source from the opposition Free Syrian Army said headquarters belonging to the command forces and the country’s Air Force, which are close to security complexes in western Kafrsousa, were partially evacuated.
On Tuesday, Western sources said that a military strike against President Bashar al-Assad was imminent to punish him regime for allegedly using chemical weapons against the opposition dominated district of Ghouta in an attack that killed hundreds.
However, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he received military options regarding Syria but he has not made a final decision yet. Also, a draft resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria was stalled in the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday due to Russian “intransigence,” the United States said.
Syria has the backing of Russia and Iran as well as China.
Obama noted that the use of chemical weapons in Syria affects U.S. national interests and that the goal of limited military action would be to deter future use of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, a Syrian officer told The Guardian newspaper, in an interview published Wednesday, that at least 8,000 suicide “martyrs” are ready to foil U.S. warplanes hand-in-hand with two Syrian allies, Hezbollah and Iran.
The Assad loyalist officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 13 pilots had signed a pledge this week saying they would form “a crew of suicide martyrs to foil the U.S. warplanes.”
The officer, who is serving with the Syrian army’s air defense section near the capital, said: “If the U.S. and British armies launch a single rocket we will launch three or four, and if their warplanes raid our skies they will face hell fire.
“If we are unable to shoot down their warplanes with artillery, we have military pilots who are ready to attack these foreign warplanes by their own warplanes and blow them up in the air.”
The officer in his 30s, who has previously provided reliable information to The Guardian, claimed: “We have more than 8,000 suicide martyrs within the Syrian army, ready to carry out martyrdom operations at any moment to stop the Americans and the British. I myself am ready to blow myself up against U.S. aircraft carriers to stop them attacking Syria and its people.”
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