Official: Potential Syria strikes could include long-range bombers
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
- Long-range aircraft may be used in an attack on Syria, U.S. official says
- No final decision has been made about what assets may be used, official says
- Official was responding to an ABC News report of the possibility of using bombers
(CNN) -- Aircraft including long-range bombers may be used in any eventual strike on Syria, but "that does not fundamentally change the parameters of the mission," a U.S. official said.
Another official from the Defense Department said the White House has been calling the Pentagon almost every day asking questions about U.S. options in Syria and the feasibility of different plans.
"They're not the experts on this, we are. So it's our job to lay out what it would take to accomplish X or Y," the defense official said.
The questions from the White House involve escalating the scope of the mission, but "in increments -- nothing that's out of line with the original plans. From the start, we have always been developing a range of options, depending on what they ultimately wanted to do," the defense official said.
U.S. assets and key locations
The first official said planners have had what he described as "incremental inquiries into what we might apply, due to how things have been developing on the ground," but added that no final decision has been made on which assets to deploy and that a decision could still be a ways off.
Voters quite skeptical on Syria strike
McCain: Congress has to be convinced
Gingrich on Syrian strategy: I'm opposed
Kenneth Cole Syria tweet sparks outrage
"I wouldn't get out ahead of anything here," the official told CNN.
"You want to match the military effort to the target sets. Those target sets have changed, but they're probably going to continue to change even more," he said.
The official characterized the bombers only as options and pushed back on any notion of U.S. pilots flying over Syrian airspace.
"You can employ stand-off weapons from an aircraft, just as easily as from a ship or submarine. Aerial assets can be used from a distance," he said.
The official was responding to a report from ABC News' Jonathan Karl, who is traveling with President Barack Obama in Russia, that said the U.S. attack plan for Syria could potentially include missiles fired from B-2 and B-52 bombers flying from the United States.
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, has reported that the Pentagon was preparing to employ greater firepower to reach shifting military targets. The revised options under development include the use of Air Force bombers to supplement U.S. destroyers in the Mediterranean, the newspaper said.
U.S. long-range bombers such as the B-1, B-2 and B-52 are equipped with joint air-to-surface missiles, designed to destroy both mobile and fixed targets. The missiles' primary advantage is that they allow pilots to operate outside the lethal range of most hostile air defense systems.
The United States has B-1 bombers stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which also operates as a forward headquarters for U.S. Central Command.
Part of complete coverage on
October 16, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh looks back at his reports from the front line, for which he has won an Emmy.
January 28, 2013 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Thousand of war-weary Syrians continue their exodus into Jordan. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom travels with some to the border.
October 29, 2013 -- Updated 2201 GMT (0601 HKT)
Polio, not seen for a decade, has returned to Syria. Atika Shubert reports on the crisis that leaves 500,000 at risk.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1000 GMT (1800 HKT)
New video by opposition groups in Syria exposes suffering from apparent malnutrition, as CNN's Arwa Damon reports.
October 23, 2013 -- Updated 0357 GMT (1157 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert reports on the horrific violence witnessed by one volunteer doctor in Syria.
July 23, 2013 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
In Lebanon, resentment toward Syrian refugees is growing. CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Raqqa was one of Syria's most liberal cities. Now locals call it Tora Bora. Now they say it's as if the Taliban of Afghanistan have taken over.
September 16, 2013 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Increasing numbers of Syrian children are suffering from malnutrition as vital supplies are cut off, as CNN's Arwa Damon reports.
September 11, 2013 -- Updated 0132 GMT (0932 HKT)
Facing the threat of U.S. military action, Syria has said it welcomes a Russian proposal to hand over its stockpiles of chemical weapons.
November 5, 2013 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
It's an odd experience flying in to Hatay, southern Turkey, on the border with Syria and its nasty and seemingly infinite war these days.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
Al Qaeda now holds power across large parts of northern Syria, according to a CNN survey of towns, activists and analysts.
August 31, 2013 -- Updated 1122 GMT (1922 HKT)
For 13 years, Bashar al-Assad has governed Syria, for the last two, he's faced repeated calls from inside and outside the country for his resignation.
September 10, 2013 -- Updated 0711 GMT (1511 HKT)
The younger brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is described by analysts as someone even more brutal than his sibling.
August 29, 2013 -- Updated 1157 GMT (1957 HKT)
As the Syrian civil war rages on, the president's high-profile wife, Asma, has kept a low profile.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 2224 GMT (0624 HKT)
The Syrian civil war has birthed rebel groups across a wide ideological and geographic spectrum.
September 16, 2013 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
More than 2 million Syrians have fled their country, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 0226 GMT (1026 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen obtains exclusive video footage of the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.
Today's five most popular stories