Delayed US strikes will still hurt Syria

Delayed US strikes will still hurt Syria
Smoke rises as seen from the Aleppo district of Salaheddine on Sept 4, 2013.

It would hardly be a surprise to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad or his military if American missiles start hitting Syria soon.

With weeks to prepare for an attack, Mr Assad might benefit in some ways from the delay in any strike caused by United States President Barack Obama's decision to seek approval from a divided US Congress.

But US officials and defence experts said Mr Assad's forces cannot take enough targets out of reach to blunt the US military mission.

Fixed targets, for example, cannot be protected, no matter how much time elapses.

"A building can't be moved or hidden," a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other fixed targets include airfields, but not any storage facilities with chemical weapons in them.

Defence analyst Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank, said that, if successful, hitting fixed targets would eliminate key assets to Mr Assad that "can't be replaced easily, like command-and-control facilities (and) major headquarters".

"These are lasting targets," he said.

It is still unclear when any US attack on Syria will happen, but Mr Assad already has had ample time to try to get ready.

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