Hagel: U.S. military ready to act on Syria immediately if asked

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The U.S. military is ready to act immediately should President Barack Obama order action against Syria over a chemical weapons attack, Reuters reported Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as saying in a television interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

“We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Hagel said during a trip to Brunei, according to a partial transcript provided by the BBC.

Asked if the U.S. military was ready to respond just “like that,” Hagel said: “We are ready to go, like that.”

Hagel also said that Washington will soon share evidence that Syria unleashed chemical weapons on its own people.

“Syria used chemical weapons against its own people,” Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying.

The defense secretary said “we’ll have more information and more intelligence here very shortly to present. I think the Secretary (of State John Kerry) noted that yesterday,” he said in Brunei, where is attending a gathering of regional defense ministers.

He said the intelligence will “conclude” that it was not the rebels who used chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said Tuesday it had postponed a planned new visit by chemical weapons experts to a site near Damascus over “safety” fears, AFP reported.

After a sniper attack on the experts on Monday “a comprehensive assessment determined that the visit should be postponed by one day in order to improve preparedness and safety for the team,” said a U.N. spokesman, Farhan Haq.

(With Reuters and AFP)