DoD leaders continue to refine U.S. options for Syria

Leaders with the U.S. Department of Defense are continuing to work on options and refine plans to respond to the situation in Syria if needed, according to a press briefing on Wednesday.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that DoD officials started developing options for a wide range of contingencies since opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad began.

"We continue to refine those plans based on how the conflict is unfolding and based on information we receive," Little said. "That's our responsibility, and we believe it is important to have options on the shelf to pull off in case the president looks to us to execute those options."

Little emphasized that U.S. government officials and international partners are looking at ways to help the opposition and considering what to do after the fall of the Assad regime.

"This is not just about bringing an end to the Assad regime," Little said. "It's also working with Syrians and partners in the region and other partners in the international community to help the Syrian people define for themselves what a post-Assad Syria will look like."

Little referred to Syria as a complex and challenging environment and said the U.S. concern in the region is not simply about chemical weapons or extremist groups. He said the DoD is working with all interagency partners to strengthen humanitarian aid and engage more closely with the opposition.

"We are fully engaged inside the government and with international allies and partners on how to look at the situation in Syria and act if necessary," Little said.

Little said the U.S. policy on Syria has not changed and that the U.S. is still providing nonlethal aid to the opposition.

Officials in the U.S. continue to look for additional corroborating evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria.

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