Panetta says U.S. continues to monitor Syria's CBRN sites

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said that the United States is continuing to monitor fighting in Syria near areas with chemical or biological weapons.

Panetta said that the U.S. is working with Israel and other countries in the region to keep an eye on sensitive areas. He said that the United States would provide assistance to the Syrian opposition so that it can become an effective fighting force and one that can be relied upon at the end of the conflict.

The secretary said that the United States providing assistance did not include transferring military equipment to the rebel forces, including weapons and surface-to-air missiles.

The rebel Free Syrian Army has obtained approximately two dozen of the weapons, known as man-portable air-defense systems. Arab governments looking to speed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fall, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been pressing for the missiles to be supplied to the rebels, thought it remains unclear as to who they originally came from, according to Reuters.

"With regards to Syria, let me say, unequivocally, that we have not provided any of those kinds of missiles to the opposition forces located in Syria," Panetta said. "We do provide ... non-lethal assistance to the opposition. We obviously are continuing to work on humanitarian relief to the refugees that have been impacted."