WASHINGTON — Defense officials say the U.S. is bringing an aircraft carrier home from the Persian Gulf region after keeping two of the warships there for months as the Obama administration considered a military strike on Syria.
The decision to bring back the USS Nimitz underscores the shift from a pointed military threat against the Syrian government to a broader diplomatic approach. It comes as international experts work to meet a mid-2014 deadline to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program.
The Nimitz was scheduled to return to the U.S. in August, but was ordered to stay in the region as concerns escalated over the Syrian government’s purported use of chemical weapons against its civilians. The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman remains there and other U.S. warships are in the Mediterranean Sea.