Officials: U.S. `very closely' watching Syrian chemical weapons

WASHINGTON (AP) - A State Department official says the U.S. is closely watching Syria's arsenals of chemical arms and portable anti-aircraft missiles amid worries these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist or militant groups during the current uprising.

The official told The Associated Press that the United States believes the Syrian government is still in control of its arsenals, but the U.S. regards the country as "a significant proliferation concern."

The official said the U.S. also was consulting with allies and partners on plans to prevent the diversion of its shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence-related matters.

Syria is believed to have nerve agents as well as mustard gas, Scud missiles capable of delivering these lethal chemicals and a variety of advanced conventional arms.

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