In light of this morning's jawboning by Trump, who vowed that an attack with US missiles "nice and new and “smart!" is imminent, and following overnight unconfirmed reports that US warplanes are massing over the Syria-Iraq border, it will hardly come as a surprise that Syrian soldiers and pro-government forces are getting the hell out of dodge.
According to Reuters, which cites the (highly conflicted) Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian pro-government forces are evacuating main airports and military air bases ahead of possible U.S. strikes.
While the report has yet to be confirmed, amusingly Reuters clarified that "the Syrian army could not be immediately reached for comment." It's also not immediately clear what they would say: "yes, we are retreating, have a good day."
Ironically, the Syrian army has one person to thank for the advance notice of an imminent attack: the same one who back in 2013 said: " I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools."
@walaa_3ssaf No, dopey, I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013
According to Pro-opposition sources, the Syrian regime has also evacuated the Jomrayah Research Center near Damascus, which is tied to Syria's ballistic program, and was targeted twice by Israel in 2015.
One lingering question is whether Russian armed forces are doing the same, and if not, what the odds are that a US strike could result in a lethal outcome involving US troops, unleashing an armed conflict between the two superpowers.
For now, Russians appears to not be in a rush, and while there has been a downtick in airstrikes from the Syrian air force, Russian strikes are still ongoing:
One sign that the Syrian air force is indeed changing position: Clear downtick in airstrikes, while Russian strikes are still ongoing #Syria— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) April 11, 2018
Meanwhile, the Syrian military is transferring advanced weaponry to Russian bases according to a source quoted by Le Figaro.
Separately, earlier on Wednesday, the Iranian media publishes the first images of the damage to the T4 Syrian airbase after an Israeli airstrike 48 hours ago killed 14.