UPDATE: At a Sept. 6 press conference, President Obama has described the Times report as “inaccurate.” Read more here.
The Pentagon is apparently developing an expanded list of potential targets in Syria after receiving intelligence that President Bashar Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons.
The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama has ordered military chiefs to concentrate on “degrading” the chemical-weapons capabilities of Assad. That involves expanding upon the 50 or so initial sites identified with French forces before the decision to seek congressional approval was taken on Saturday.
(MORE: At the G-20, Obama’s Syria Efforts Take a Hit as Putin Gains Support)
Any strike would not be directly aimed at chemical stockpiles — as that would carry the risk of releasing toxic agents — but rather at army units designated with their storage and preparation, as well as at Syria’s military top brass.
The bulk of any American attack would likely be carried out by cruise missiles from four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean.
MORE: Al-Qaeda’s Proxies Among Syria’s Rebels Scared by Threat of U.S. Strikes