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The New Arab

Syria strikes appear closer with flight warnings and military movements

US aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman has been deployed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2018

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Airspace around Syria's west coast is empty of civilian flights, as the US and its allies edge closer to launching air strikes on Syria with major military movements reported.

Skies around Syria appeared empty of civilians on flight tracking apps Tuesday evening, as Europe's air traffic control body warned against travel over or near Syria.

Although the skies of the war-torn country have been largely empty of civilian traffic over the past seven years, it comes amid expectations of US-France led strikes on the country.

Eurocontrol echoed this with a warning to flight operators in the eastern Mediterranean early Wednesday.

The body said pilots should exercise caution in and around Syria over the next 72 hours, due to expected air strikes on Syria.

"Due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area," the body said according to Reuters.

It mentioned a document from the European Aviation Safety Agency, Europe's safety regulator, which sparked the warning.

The warning follows reports of major military movements by the US and France in the region, after a chemical attack on an opposition enclave near Damascus on Saturday killed over 40 civilians.

This has been blamed on the Syrian regime and with Donald Trump threatening a strong response.

The US is set to announce in the coming 48 hours, whether strikes will take place on Syria.

All the signs so far point to yes, with US President Donald Trump cancelling a trip to South America to monitor the situation in Syria.

He has been on the phone to leaders of France and the UK, who will likely take part in any strikes.

A UN meeting held Tuesday evening, which some hoped might ease tensions, saw a bitter exchange between the US and Syrian regime ally Russia.

US aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman has been deployed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, while French fighter jets have also been moved closer to strike positions according to French media.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also signalled that they too make take part in any military action.

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