US airstrike proposal in Syria could result in Russian deaths: report

US airstrike proposal in Syria could result in Russian deaths: report
© Getty Images

U.S. officials are weighing a proposal for an airstrike against Syrian military targets that would likely result in the deaths of Russian troops operating in the country, The Intercept reported Thursday.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBudowsky: Biden-Duckworth would be America's team Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report Mattis urges people to wear masks in PSA about 'nasty little virus' MORE is expected to deliver the Pentagon's proposals to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Thursday.

Among those plans is a proposal for a "saturation strike" on Syrian military targets, including airfields, two military officials told The Intercept. 

But that plan would likely lead to Russian casualties in Syria, the officials said. It would break from previous U.S. strategy under the Obama administration to avoid military action in the country that could cause Russian deaths.


The proposals come on the heels of a chemical weapons attack in northern Syria on Tuesday that killed scores of civilians. The strike was allegedly carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, though the Syrian government denies responsibility.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. pushed for the removal of Assad, whom Syrian rebels have been fighting to oust since 2011. Russia, on the other hand, has backed the regime and provided military support to the Syrian government.

Compounding the situation is the fact that the many of the Syrian military's airfields are near civilian-inhabited areas, increasing the risk of civilian casualties from a potential U.S. airstrike.

The U.S. currently has military forces in Syria, though they are acting in an advising capacity and are not directly involved in combat.