Delay in strike giving Assad time to move military hardware, sources say

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Syrian President Bashar Assad has benefited from the United States' delay in launching any military strike on his regime, Defense sources told Fox News, amid reports that his forces have been moving military hardware off-base potentially as a precautionary measure.

"(Assad) does this all the time," one military source told Fox News. "All he has to do is watch the news to know what our tactics are."

According to one senior U.S. Defense official, it would have been better to strike Syria a few days ago, before the regime had time to move around its military hardware from bases likely to be targeted in any strike.

Quoting opposition sources, Reuters reported on Friday that the regime is doing exactly that. Sources claimed they spotted Assad's forces removing Scud missiles and dozens of launchers from a base near the capital city of Damascus.

According to the report, rebel scouts saw the equipment being moved out early Thursday. The missiles were reportedly draped in tarpaulins as they were shipped out. Most of the military staff apparently have also been ordered to stay home, in anticipation of a strike.

The reports reflect a scenario that U.S. lawmakers have been warning about. After details of a possible strike were widely reported, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- an advocate of military action in Syria -- said Assad should just declare a "snow day" and keep everyone from work and out of harm's way.

President Obama, though, has found himself caught up in a political dispute both in Congress and overseas.

He was hoping to win support from allies like Great Britain, but the U.K. House of Commons on Thursday voted against military action in Syria.

Members of Congress in Washington, many of them skeptical about a strike, are also demanding a say.