WASHINGTON -- U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government.
Obama is stressing that a quick intervention in the Syrian civil war is problematic, given the international considerations that should precede a military strike.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling to Asia, declined to discuss any specific force movements while saying that Obama had asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria.
U.S. defense officials say the Navy has sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.
According to reports, a chemical attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital killed at least 100 people this week.