By Barbara Starr
Initial U.S. intelligence suggests Syria did not use chemical weapons in a strike earlier this week, CNN has been told by U.S. officials.
The officials emphasized this is a preliminary conclusion and the investigation continues.
U.S. analysts are "leaning hard away" from the notion that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people, a military official directly familiar with the preliminary analysis tells CNN.
There are "multiple indicators" for this emerging conclusion, a second official said.
That official told CNN, "there are strong indications now that chemical weapons were not used by the regime in recent days."
The official would not specify what those indications are, but said it points to the emerging U.S. conclusion that "weaponized chemical agents" were not used.
Analysis of a video of hospitalized Syrians suggests that it does not appear people are suffering from a chemical weapons attack or being treated as though they were in such an attack, according to the military official.
"The actions in the video don't match up to a chemical weapons response," the first official said.
Though the official noted that Syrian hospitals may have a shortage of the supplies that would be expected to be used in such an attack.
Analysts believe its possible the people in the video were deliberately exposed to, or in some fashion hit with "'caustic"' agent such as chlorine. But that would not be the same as using a chemical weapons, as defined by international treaties, such as a nerve or blister agent that cause hideous suffering and often death.
There is also no NATO or U.S. radar or satellite intelligence indicating the launch of a SCUD missile at the time of the attack, according to the military official
"The fact that it's not a weapon doesn't mean it's not some creative use of a caustic agent," the first official said.
Officials say this is an emerging conclusion and there still may be more intelligence that will come to light.
They are specifically noting, however, that the regime may have deliberately exposed people to large quantities of chemicals such chlorine that could cause symptoms and illness, but that is technically different that the weapons that President Barack Obama has called a "red line'" if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were to use them in a mass casualty attack.
CNN's Richard Roth, Chelsea Carter, Amir Ahmed, Joe Sterling, Hamdi Alkhshali and Barbara Starr contrib