WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy will expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth cruise-missile armed warship because of the escalating civil war in Syria, a defense official said on Friday.
The USS Mahan had finished its deployment and was due to head back to its home base in Norfolk, Virginia, but the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet has decided to keep the ship in the region, the defense official said.
The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, stressed that the Navy had received no orders to prepare for any military operations regarding Syria.
U.S. officials are considering a range of options for responding to reports that Syria has used chemical weapons against civilians, including possible cruise missile attacks from the sea, a senior defense official told Reuters earlier.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Bill Trott)