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Norfolk based destroyers ready for Syria strike

Posted By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Four Norfolk-based destroyers are currently sailing the Mediterranean Sea and ready to execute a missile strike on Syria if the United States calls for it.

The USS Gravely, the USS Mahan, the USS Barry and the USS Ramage are on station in the eastern Mediterranean, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Courtney Hillson said.

Defense officials have claimed that possible targets for the destroyers could include Syrian weapons arsenals, command and control centers, radar and communications facilities and other military headquarters.

On Monday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Syria's use of chemical weapons claiming that it was a "moral obscenity" that could not go unanswered. He added that Syrian actions are not "the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide."

Also on Monday, Russian officials warned the U.S. against intervening in Syria and drew comparisons between the current response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons and the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.

Russia's foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said last week that it was "no coincidence" that information regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons had come from "agenda-driven regional mass media."

"All this can only lead us to thik that we are dealing with a provocation planned in advance," Lukashevich added.

Syrian ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad denied reports that the country had used chemicals weapons adding that the information was meant to confuse international observers.

"All reports on this topic are aimed at repeating the Iraqi scenario in Syria where there were allegedly weapons of mass destruction," Haddad said. "But there was an attempt to politicize this investigation by one of the superpowers supporting terrorists in our country."

The UK, however, has called the West to military action over reports of chemical weapons use in Syria.

After Prime Minister David Cameron requested to recall Parliament Thursday to vote on the UK's "response to chemical weapons attacks," a spokesman for Cameron explained that the country was working on a contingency plan.

"I am not going to get into details on any specifics," the spokesman said. "All I would say is it is reasonable to assume that our armed forces are making contingency plans."

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