Cairo notified to withdraw its military experts from Syrian airbase prior to U.S missile attack

Egyptian diplomatic sources unveiled that Cairo received warnings from America to withdraw its military experts,who provide technical support to the Syrian regime forces before US military strike on  Sheirat military airfields, related to the Syrian regime.

The sources stated that official American military circles have informed their Egyptian counterpart in a cautionary manner that it is necessary to withdraw any Egyptian elements located in a number of a Syrian air bases related to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, without giving any further reasons.

The sources also confirmed that Cairo didn’t have a preemptive notification about the U.S. cruises missile strikes on al-Assad’s regime airbase in Syria hours after a poison attack that killed dozens of civilians.

Accordingly, the sources pointed that the Egyptian leadership immediately demanded a number of Egyptian military experts present in al-Assad’s military bases, to be cautious until things become clear, noting that it did not expect that U.S will launch a strike of that size on al- Assad’s forces.

More than 60 civilians were killed in Syria in a new chemical attack that was carried out by Assad regime’s air force on the rebel-held Idlib province, doctors and monitoring groups have said, in a new chapter of Assad regime’s massacres using prohibited weapons.

US President Trump authorized the launch of cruise missiles on a Syrian airbase which was behind this week’s chemical weapons attack, which is considered a new development on the Syrian crisis.

Trump, who had long said the top U.S. priority in Syria should be to fight Islamic State, immediately ordered a list of options to punish Assad, according to senior officials who took part in the flurry of closed-door meetings that played out over two days.

U.S Warning to Cairo Ensures the Presence of Egyptian Experts in Syrian Military Bases

Although the sources have stated that Egypt wasn’t informed about the U.S strikes, but the diplomatic sources statement ensure what have been previously reported by Arab media outlets about the presence of Egyptian pilots at Hamah military airbase in Syria.

Al-Safir, a Lebanese newspaper close to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, revealed that an Egyptian unit, including 18 Egyptian pilots started to work at Hamah military airbase in Syria on November 22.

18 pilots were part of a special helicopter squadron operating at Hamah airbase and have been at the base since 12 November, as stated by the Lebanese newspaper.

It wasn’t not known if the pilots have already participated in airstrikes or not, but their presence at Hamah airbase shows that there is an Egyptian-Syrian decision to speed up merging the Egyptian pilots, according to the newspaper.

The first group of four high-ranking Egyptian officers from the Egyptian General Staff entered Syria and were deployed in the Syrian army’s general staff base in Damascus, adding that two Egyptian Major Generals started work in the Syrian army’s operations room a month ago, and their responsibility is leading reconnaissance operations, the latest of which was in Quneitra in Southern Syria, the Golan Heights and Daraa.

Arab sources were quoted saying that Cairo was also studying dispatching its ‘Thunder Forces’ to Syria to help the army more extensively in operations.

It also quoted senior Syrian security sources as saying that the Egyptians have promised Damascus to send their forces to Syria and will start massive participation in battles there on January 23, adding that Cairo’s military presence will go beyond its role in Hama airbase.

In addition, it is worth Al-Sisi has previously expressed his support for Syrian Bashar al-Assad’s army, during his interview with the Portuguese TV network RTP. Al-Sisi said that the Syrian government’s army forces are best positioned to combat terrorism and restore stability in the war-torn nation.

When al-Sisi was asked if he’d send Egyptian peacekeepers to Syria under a peace deal, he said that “it is better that the national army take responsibility”and that his priority is to “support the national army” of Syria.

The Egyptian Stance Is Vague

Since the U.S cruises missile strikes on al-Assad’s regime’s airbase in Syria, Egypt’s stance has been vague and unbalanced.

Days ago, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry refused a request submitted by several members in the Arab Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Parliament to condemn the U.S airstrikes against the Syrian regime.

However, he only said that the military conflict in Syria will lead to many deaths, and that his country supports the political solution for the crisis without any bias to party on the other.

Many observers considered the delay in Egypt’s official stance toward the U.S strike on the Sheirat airbase reflects two issues:First, the lack of Egypt’s influence over the Syrian file since al-Sisi reached power.

Second, Al-Sisi’s doesn’t want to support any party over the other as he fears that it would have negative repercussions on Egypt’s relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia from one side, and with Russia on the other side.