Reports: Obama Administration Repositions Naval Forces for Possible Syria Strike

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CBS' Charlie Kaye, along with multiple Friday evening sources, reports that the United States Navy has moved vessels into range for cruise missile strikes on Syrian government installations.

According to a later Reuters report, the U.S.S. Mahan, armed with cruise missiles, is remaining in range of the country. But the anonymous source quoted by Reuters stressed that no naval military operations had been approved for Syria. The AP reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel suggested on Friday that the military was positioning itself for a possible decision by President Obama to pursue military options in Syria.

The reports follow an earlier report from NBC News, indicating that the Obama administration was considering responses to Syria after believing that chemical weapons were used in the country this week. That report quoted an anonymous official who referred to the possibility of "limited airstrikes" against Syria: 

"If the president wants to send a message" — most likely with limited airstrikes against a few targets — "we're good at sending messages," one official said. But if the White House wants to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, "We're not able to do that" without a long-term military commitment, the official said.

The planned Saturday meeting, NBC explains, is a follow-up to an inconclusive meeting on Thursday with Obama's top advisors. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.