Is Russia gearing up for possible US strike on Syria?

In the wake of US showing increasing signs of staging military strikes on Syria for purported chemical weapons usage by Assad regime, Russia seems to be gearing up for countering the US moves.

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2013, 15:11 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Moscow: In the wake of US showing increasing signs of staging military strikes on Syria for purported chemical weapons usage by Assad regime, Russia seems to be gearing up for countering the US moves.

Russian Navy was reportedly bolstering its Mediterranean presence by positioning anti-submarine ship and missile cruiser near Syrian coasts.

"A large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet will join them (the existing naval forces) over the next few days. Later it will be joined by a rocket cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet," a Russian military official was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax.

In a remark that clearly shows vehement opposition by Moscow against any possible US intervention, Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin compared West to a monkey wielding grenades in Islamic world.

"The West handles the Islamic world the way a monkey handles a grenade," Rogozin tweeted Wednesday.

Russia also walked away from a UN meeting yesterday that was discussing a draft authored by Britain that would authorise "appropriate measures" against countries that use chemical weapons.

Russian beefing of naval forces in Mediterranean comes after US President Barack Obama affirmed that Syrian government was behind the chemical attacks in Ghouta suburb on August 21.

Though Obama said he was yet to decide if the US would carry out any military strike on Syria, US naval forces were all geared up to strike when ordered.

Speaking on "PBS NewsHour" show, Obama said, “We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences".

Obama, however, said that he wasn`t interested in any "open-ended conflict in Syria" but he just wanted to make sure that "when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons" they must be held accountable.

The attack in Syria`s Ghouta suburb on August 21 that claimed hundreds of lives, has caused an international furore with the Western nations like Britain, France and Israel clamouring for intervention in Syria.

Britain yesterday put forth a proposal for voting its draft resolution that would authorise "all necessary measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to protect civilians from chemical weapons."

Chapter 7 allows the use of international armed force to back up UN decisions.

But the UNSC members failed to reach an agreement as Russia is against any international intervention in Syria.
Russia and China have in past thrice vetoed UN resolutions imposing sanction against Syrian regime.