The US military is debating whether to keep its aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman near the Middle East instead of rotating it after a set period of time, according to the Defense News website.
It quoted US Defense Department officials as saying that the move is still under discussion and that it "would be a response to "increasingly assertive Russian activities in the region," while also being in line with Washington's new National Defense Strategy.
At the same time, Defense News reported, the Harry S. Truman staying on in Europe "would be a major departure from the normal rotational presence missions the Navy has conducted since Operation Desert Storm, in which a trip through 'The Ditch' is almost a foregone conclusion."
Additionally, the aircraft carrier's deployment in the Mediterranean should "serve as an imposing reminder" of US President Donald Trump's warning against the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces, according to the Defense News.
Leaving a Norfolk base on April 11, the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group entered the Mediterranean Sea on April 19, almost a week after the US, France and Britain launched missile strikes on Syria's military and civil facilities in response to the alleged April 7 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
In another development last week, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a news briefing that the ministry had enough evidence to conclude that the planned provocation using chemical weapons was carried out in Douma in Eastern Ghouta on April 7.
According to him, the provocation was organized by Western-backed NGOs, including the White Helmets, in a bid to prompt the US to stage a missile strike on Syria.