U.S., allies plan to seize Syrian weapons sites in emergency

The Obama administration is accelerating its planning for a series of potential crises in Syria in the coming months, including the government's possible loss of control over a portion of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

The planning reportedly involves intelligence from at least seven countries and includes arrangements for secure chemical weapons sites with special operations soldiers in the event that portions of Syria are taken over by militants, according to the Washington Post.

U.S. and regional intelligence officials are concerned that Islamic militants may be positioning themselves to seize control of swathes of territory should the country fall into a full-scale civil war.

"There's a big worry that things could fall apart quickly," a former U.S. intelligence official said, the Washington Post reports. "A big problem can turn up on your doorstep overnight."

Western intelligence agencies made similar plans to safeguard chemical weapons in Libya during last year's uprising, particularly during the fighting's last weeks when government soldiers abandoned their posts as rebels advanced on Tripoli.

The Libyan arsenal has been deemed much less dangerous than the more powerful agents stockpiled by Damascus. The Libyan arsenal consisted mostly of containers of degraded mustard gas, while Syria is thought to posses battlefield-ready stocks of nerve agents.