U.S. officials confirm to FOX News that the Syrian military is preparing chemical weapons, more specifically the deadly sarin gas. The components of the nerve agent have been loaded into bombs and await orders from President Bashar al-Assad.
As a nerve agent, sarin gas makes the human body begin to shut down, eventually slowing and stopping breathing. It was developed as a chemical weapon in the 1950's, and used during Iraq-Iran war in the 1980's and as part of terrorist attacks in Japan in the mid-90's. A shell containing unmixed sarin gas agents was detonated in Iraq in 2004, injuring two U.S. servicemembers.
United States and NATO officials have been warning Syria not to use chemical weapons as a means to stop the uprising against Assad.
The United States currently has no naval assets tasked to help in Syria. The USS Eisenhower passed off the Syrian coast after traversing the Suez Canal and is on its way home. The USS Iwo Jima is joining the Eisenhower on its voyage home. There is one remaining naval strike group in the Persian Gulf, headed by the USS Stennis.