>> we begin with the escalating crisis in syria . pentagon sources tell nbc news that the syrian military has chemical weapons locked and loaded and they're just waiting for the order to fire. let's go to nbc at the pentagon. mick , good morning to you.
>> reporter: good morning, matt. u.s. officials tell us that the syrian military is now prepared to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. now, those sources say that the precursor chemicals to create that deadly sarin nerve gas have now been loaded on to aerial bombs at missile site depots and that they have -- that could be dropped from war planes on to the syrian people . now, the u.s. intelligence detected a flurry of activity around the chemical sites earlier this week and then confirmed just yesterday that, in fact, the deadly sarin gas has been loaded on to those bombs. they stress, however, that as of now, the bombs remain in the depots have not been loaded on the planes and president assad has not given the fatal order to attack, matt.
>> hey, mick , a few days ago, president obama warned the syrian regime, if you use chemical weapons , quote, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable. talk to me about any viable military options the u.s. has at its disposal right now.
>> the preemptive strike is pretty much limited. ground troops out of the question. as syria has one of the most robust air defense systems in the world given to them by the russians. and cruise missiles could be launched but not against the missile sites themselves because that would indicate and could easily spread the deadly sarin gas . some have suggested, our, cruise missiles could be launched at regime targets. you know, but the solution to this may be occurring right now as we speak there in dublin where secretary of state hillary clinton is holding an unscheduled meeting with the russian foreign minister about syria . russia is syria 's largest ally. if they can be convinced to withdraw some of that support, then it appears that the days for president assad's regime could be over.
>> all right. mick , thank you