- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2013

A fifth Navy destroyer has entered the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where other vessels are awaiting orders on whether to launch an attack on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

The USS Stout left Norfolk, Va., on  Aug. 18, and has reached the eastern Mediterranean, but has not yet joined the four other destroyers positioned for an attack against Syria, Navy officials said.

The Stout, which is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, is on a regularly scheduled deployment to relieve the USS Barry, which is scheduled to return home in September, officials said.

The USS Mahan was scheduled to return home last week, but the 6th Fleet’s commander directed it to stay in case the president orders a Tomahawk strike.

The USS Mahan, Barry, Ramage and Gravely are positioned in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as submarines armed with missiles, and are ready to conduct limited strikes on Syria if ordered. Typically, two to three destroyers are deployed in the area.

• Kristina Wong can be reached at kwong@washingtontimes.com.

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