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U.S. military ready to act on Syria immediately if asked: Hagel

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel attends the opening ceremony of the Pentagon's permanent Korean War exhibition near Washington June 18, 2
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel attends the opening ceremony of the Pentagon's permanent Korean War exhibition near Washington June 18, 2

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Reuters) - The U.S. military is ready to act immediately should President Barack Obama order action against Syria over a chemical weapons attack, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a television interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

"We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take," Hagel said during a trip to Brunei, according to a partial transcript provided by the BBC.

Asked if the U.S. military was ready to respond just "like that," Hagel said: "We are ready to go, like that."

Hagel's comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid the groundwork for possible military action against the Syrian government by saying Obama believed there needed to be "accountability" for the use of chemical weapons.

Hagel said the United States would have intelligence to present "very shortly" about the attack. But noted after calls with his British and French counterparts that there was little doubt among most U.S. allies that "the most base ... international humanitarian standard was violated."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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