By CNN Staff
All options remain on the table as the Obama administration considers what, if any, military action to take in Syria following the suspected use of chemical weapons there, U.S. officials tell CNN.
They say this includes the possibility of providing arms to rebels even though the administration has opposed this step and several caution that its resistance to doing so is unlikely to change.
So far, the United States has provided communications and other non-lethal aid to the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a two-year civil war.
The Syrian government is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, the head of the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence research departments said Tuesday.
"In all likelihood they used sarin gas," Brig. Gen. Itai Brun said Tuesday in a speech at a conference in Tel Aviv. This comes as a civil war between the government and rebels rages across Syria - which borders Israel.
Analysts believe the Syrian government may have one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world. The supply is believed to include sarin, mustard and VX gases, which are banned under international law. Syria has denied the allegation.
Reports have repeatedly surfaced that Syrian forces moved some of the chemical weapons inventories, possibly because of deteriorating security in the country, raising fears the stockpile could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-linked groups working with the opposition should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government fall.
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."
By Elise Labott
The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.
The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American.