Syria may have moved some of its chemical arsenal

The United States and countries near Syria are looking into intelligence reports that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime may have moved some of its chemical weapons in recent weeks, according to a senior U.S. official.

The official said that the movement could be an effort to consolidate storage of the weapons because of a breakdown of security in the country. Officials from multiple U.S. government agencies said that the U.S. tried in the last 10 days to determine if the reports were legitimate, but there are no firm conclusions. None of the officials would agree to be identified because of the information's sensitive nature, CNN reports.

U.S. officials said that they do not know the extent of the movement or if the movement signals a move by the al-Assad regime to use the weapons. The officials said that they want to obtain confirmations from multiple sources before a firm conclusion is reached.

In late 2012, when it was believed that the Syrian government was moving chemical weapons for potential use, President Obama and other world leaders issued strong public statements against using the weapons. One senior U.S. official said that if the recent movements are confirmed, Obama's administration will release additional strong statements, CNN reports.

The U.S. has other concerns in Syria related to Iran, which may be supporting Assad's regime to give Iran influence in case the regime falls.