Top US soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey said if Assad chose to use his chemical weapons against opposition forces it would be virtually impossible to stop him, because “you would have to have such clarity of intelligence, you know, persistent surveillance, you would have to actually see it before it happened."
 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the same news conference that the US is increasingly focused on how to secure Syria’s chemical weapons if Assad falls from power, but is not considering sending in ground troops. He said that the greater concern now was the steps the international community takes to make sure of a procedure for getting “our hands on securing those [chemical arms] sites."  The US government was discussing the issue with Israel and other countries in the region, said Panetta, but ruled out deploying American ground forces in a "hostile" setting.