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US Strengthens Protection of Its Forces in Syria as Tensions Rise

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The US forces have strengthened protection of its troops, deployed in Syria, after US missile strikes on a Syrian airbase.

US Strengthens Protection of Its Forces in Syria as Tensions Rise

A US fighter stands near a military vehicle, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016 (Photo: Reuters / Rodi Said)

US military have made slight adjustments to its actions in Syria in order to strengthen protection of US troops after striking a Syrian airbase, the Reuters news agency reported, citing US officials.

The news agency’s sources, who wished to remain anonymous, refused to provide more detailed information. One of the officials noted that the missile strikes, carried out by the US against the Syrian airbase, had not slowed down the ongoing campaign against terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Later, during a news briefing, when Pentagon spokesman, Colonel John Thomas, was asked about the Reuters report, he confirmed that the US commander, appointed for the campaign, has been “calling in the resources that he needs” in order to protect the US forces after the missile strike.

Thomas also noted that the US strikes in Syria had become more defensive, as well as acknowledged the fact that the pace had slowed somewhat since last Friday.

“I don’t think that is going to last for very long, but that is up to [Lieutenant General Stephen] Townsend,” the Pentagon spokesman said, pointing out that there still had not been any attempts to retaliate against US troops by Syria or its allies.

On the night of April 7, the US Navy fired cruise missiles from its ships and struck the airbase in the Syrian province of Homs, claiming that in early April, Damascus allegedly carried out a chemical attack on the province of Idlib from this airfield.

At the same time, Washington did not provide any evidence of these accusations and did not heed Russia’s call for a thorough investigation before accusing the Syrian authorities, who categorically rejected the fact of the usage of chemical weapons, saying that it had long ago been exported from the country’s territory through the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

According to the Pentagon, in total, 59 missiles were fired. The Homs governor said that seven people, five servicemen and two civilians from a village, located near the airbase, were killed. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, two Syrian servicemen were missing, four were killed, and six others suffered burns during extinguishing of the fires.

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