The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and other ships in its strike group are heading west toward the Red Sea in case they’re needed to support a U.S. attack on Syria, defense officials told Reuters Sunday.
The Nimitz strike group includes four destroyers and a cruiser and is moving west in the Arabian Sea so it can enter the eastern Mediterranean if need be. The group had not yet entered the Red Sea Sunday evening, one official told Reuters.
“It’s about leveraging the assets to have them in place should the capabilities of the carrier strike group and the presence be needed,” said the official.
President Barack Obama on Saturday delayed cruise missile strikes by five destroyers off the coast of Syria, Reuters says. Instead he’s waiting for congressional approval to attack Syria for what the White House says is the Assad regime’s recent use of the nerve agent Sarin.
The U.S. Navy beefed up its presence in the eastern Mediterranean over the past week, adding two destroyers to the trio that typically patrols the region. The five destroyers carry a combined 200 Tomahawk missiles, officials tell Reuters.