The USA has positioned five warships and a number of submarines in the Eastern Mediterranean as a precursor to potential intervention against the Syrian regime. Four destroyers, Barry, Gravely, Ramage and Stout, and the amphibious transport USS San Antonio, carrying about 700 troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are awaiting orders. Each Arleigh Burke class destroyer is capable of launching 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

At the time of writing, the US President had referred authorisation to use military force to Congress. A UK Parliamentary vote on military intervention resulted in an ignominious defeat for the government. Despite similar public misgivings in France, the French President has vowed to intervene, with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle on standby and the destroyer FS Chevalier Paul already despatched to the region. Pro-Assad Russia has also announced the deployment of a task force, and the aircraft carrier RFS Admiral Kuznetsov will call at its Syrian naval base in Tartus.

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