Approximate areas with rebel presence

Selected U.S. resources in the area

U.K. base in Cyprus

Britain's Akrotiri Air Base is about 100 miles from the Syrian coast and could be a potential point of operation.

U.S. ships

Five U.S. destroyers are moving to the eastern Mediterranean, each with the capability of firing cruise missiles more than 1,000 miles.

Turkey

Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force installation, has been used for reconnaissance missions in the past.

Potential targets in Syria

Command centers

The Mazzeh and Qasioun military complexes are home to Syria’s special forces, the elite Republican Guard and the 4th Armored Division, all powerful units close to President Bashar al-Assad.

Airstrips

Any operation will probably target air force bases, including the five largest ones shown here, to suppress the regime’s ability to conduct aerial strikes by hitting areas that house fighter planes and attack helicopters.

An improbable target

A suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs prompted the U.S. to consider a military strike in Syria. However, the chemical weapons stockpile is an improbable target because attacking weapons sites increases the risk of dispersing harmful toxins.

SOURCES: Institute for the Study of War, GlobalSecurity, U.S. Navy, Washington Post and wire reports.