Britain's Ministry of Defence said Thursday that it was moving six Typhoon interceptor fast jets to a Royal Air Force base on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus as a defensive measure, shortly before lawmakers in the House of Commons voted down a proposal on UK military intervention.
"This is a precautionary measure, specifically aimed at protecting UK interests and the defense of our Sovereign Base Areas at a time of heightened tension in the wider region," the ministry said. "They are not deploying to take part in any military action against Syria."
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said he believed the likelihood of any reprisal from Syria "is very remote"
But, he said, Cyprus's security services are considering certain security measures, including "vigilance against any asymmetrical activity in Cyprus, terrorism" and will be prepared to help out in case any mass evacuation is needed of Europeans or "citizens of other friendly countries."
Maher also thinks retaliation by al-Assad is unlikely.
"I think he will weather the storm, absorb what will be a token gesture in terms of a few cruise missile strikes, and will go back to business as usual," he said.