US, UK defense chiefs discuss Syrian standoff

Both defense chiefs went over the "ongoing close coordination [through] diplomatic channels to address the Syrian civil war and the regime's use of chemical weapons," according to a Pentagon readout of the conversation. 

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Hagel also updated Hammond on U.S. forces stationed in the region and possible plans of action should the White House order military action against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

The call came weeks after the British Parliament voted down a plan by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to provide military support for a planned U.S. offensive in Syria. 

Despite that vote, Hagel "reiterated the United States' appreciation for its strong and unshakeable alliance with Great Britain," according to the Pentagon. 

On Friday, Little declined to comment on whether the two defense leaders discussed the possible use of U.K. bases in the region for any possible U.S. strike in Syria. 

Prior to the Parliament vote, British fighter jets and cargo aircraft arrived at the United Kingdom's massive air base in Cyprus, just miles off the Syrian coast.

The move came after U.S. warships in the region moved into position for possible attacks against Assad's forces. 

The planned strikes are in retaliation for alleged chemical weapons strikes by the regime against anti-government rebels in the country. 

President Obama put the planned strikes on indefinite hold after an eleventh-hour Syrian disarmament deal made by Russia. 

Syrian officials have reportedly agreed to the basic tenets of the Russian plan, which would have United Nations officials take control of the country's chemical arsenal. 

However, the Pentagon has extended the deployments of two American warships, the Navy Destroyer USS Burke and aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, in the coastal waters near Syria. 

The extended mission for those two warships is part of the department's efforts to maintain a viable military option for the White House, should Obama order the strikes to begin.