Newly released satellite imagery appears to show that almost all warships at the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria have put to sea in advance of a preannounced U.S. strike on Syria. Russia has a 74-year lease on the base under a defense agreement with the Syrian government.
Photos and analysis provided by satellite imaging that on Wednesday, most of the Russian vessels ordinarily docked at Tartus were gone, with just one Kilo-class submarine left at the pier. Normally there are about a dozen Russian naval and merchant vessels at the base.
On Wednesday morning, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russian forces to prepare for missile strikes in Syria. The strikes are intended as a form of retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.
Russia’s defense ministry said that it was monitoring developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. “We are attentively tracking the situation unfolding around Syria and in the whole region,” the ministry said in a statement.