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One of the major concerns is what would happen if Assad somehow was no longer in office, U.S. officials said.. They believe other leaders close to him in Syrian military and intelligence agencies would remain in place for some time. But if the entire regime were to collapse, it could force the hand of the United States along with the international community to act to maintain security and protect civilians.
But unless and until a decision is made by Obama to undertake a military option, action at the moment remains limited mostly to using American satellites overhead to gather intelligence about what is happening on the ground, including the movements of Syrian forces.
As CNN previously reported, American officials say they are intercepting communications by regime leaders and the Syrian security apparatus, including the military. So far the decision is to not jam those communications because they provide intelligence about the regime's actions.
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