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Mazzeh airbase was said to be preparing to defend against a possible US missile attack (Image: GETTY)

A source told the news site that the Mazzeh airbase was preparing to defend against a possible US missile attack.

It came the same day a top Russian official said the US was bolstering military forces in the Middle East in preparation against Syrian forces.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “The US is making preparations for a missile attack on Syria, which will follow after a staged chemical weapons attack in the province of Idlib, blamed on the Syrian government.”

The Syrian regime, backed by its ally Russia, is preparing for a major assault on the town of Idlib.

Russian media outlets claimed the Kremlin had intelligence that rebel groups holding the town were planning on using chemical weapons to provoke a US response.

Washington was quick to dismiss the claims as “Kremlin propaganda”.

However reports have revealed the US has made a list of preliminary targets in Syria if Donald Trump was to order a new round of airstrikes.

A US administration official familiar told CNN that no decisions on any specific strikes have been made yet.

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Syria with the aid of Russia is preparing to launch an assault on Idlib (Image: GETTY)

But they stressed that the US military could respond very quickly if it believed Damascus had launched a chemical weapons attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron made similar claims this week.

He told French ambassadors on Monday: “We will continue acting this way if we see new confirmed cases of the chemical weapons use.

“France can’t appoint future Syrian leaders. But it is our duty and in our interests to make sure that Syrian people are able to do this.”

syria news us airstrike assad chemical attack russia usa kremlin
The US launched a military strike against Syria in April this year (Image: GETTY)

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said today that the US sees Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s defence of a possible operation in the Idlib province as an escalation of the conflict.

He said: “Sergey Lavrov is defending Syrian and Russian assault on Idlib. The Russians and Assad agreed not to permit this.

“The US sees this as an escalation of an already dangerous conflict.

“The three million Syrians, who have already been forced out of their homes and are now in Idlib, will suffer from this aggression. Not good. The world is watching.”

In April this year, there was an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma in East Ghouta.

This prompted a military strike against the Syria regime, led by the US along with its allies the UK and France, after Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was blamed for an atrocity on his own people.

The airstrikes were carried out before formal investigations were conducted to determine whether chemical weapons were used.