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April 16, 2014

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As Syria threat expands, Obama mulls options

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 | 12:20 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the United States, Syria's civil war is threatening to start hitting closer to home.

Peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition are faltering. President Bashar Assad's military is on the offensive and the rebels are in disarray.

Most distressing to the Obama administration, U.S. officials say al-Qaida-linked militants are squeezing moderates out of the insurgency and carving out havens for potential terrorist plots against the United States.

The accelerating U.S. national security threat is leading the administration to take a fresh look at previously shelved ideas, including more robust assistance to Western-backed rebels.

They are also are looking at newer, more far-reaching options, including drone strikes on extremists and more forceful action against Assad, whom President Barack Obama told to leave power 30 months ago.