Fifth US warship deployed to Syria

Published time: August 29, 2013 17:11

The United States is sending a fifth warship towards Syria, defense officials said Thursday, upping the ante as a showdown between the US and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime remains all but declared.

A 505-foot-long guided missile destroyer, the USS Stout, has been sent to the Mediterranean Sea to assist the four US warships already deployed to await potential orders to strike Syria amid an international investigation into Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons to gas innocent civilians outside of Damascus last week.

Should the White House ask for an assault on Assad’s regime, the USS Stout and the rest of the seafaring fleet will join an arsenal of US, UK and French warheads already surrounding Syria in every which direction.

The Stout left its home port in Norfolk, Virginia more than a week ago with hundreds of soldiers on board en route to the Mediterranean. In the days since, however, Obama administration officials have suggested that the president has not taken the possibility of ordering a military strike against Syria off the table. Now should an assault be ordered from Washington, the US will have one more option at its disposal with regards to striking from the sea.

Norfolk’s WAVY News reported Thursday morning that the Stout was already on patrol in the eastern Mediterranean, but is now heading east to relieve one of the ships stationed within striking distance of Syria.

According to Sky News, a US defense official said the ship will replace the USS Mahan, but noted that both vessels may remain in place for the time being.

In an official Navy document, the Stout is said to be “equipped with the world’s most sophisticated weapon system,”

The Stout, said the Pentagon paper, “can guide vertically-launched standard missiles to intercept hostile aircraft and missiles at extended ranges.” It’s equipped to fire anti-ship cruise missiles as far away as 65 nautical miles and can perform a sea-to-land attack with deadly Tomahawk missiles.

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