Hagel, NATO ministers discuss Syria chemical weapons but no alliance action expected

New reports that the French confirmed the use of sarin gas in Syria triggered discussions here at the meeting of NATO defense ministers, but the alliance is still refusing to make any contingency plans for operations in the embattled country.

Unwilling to get drawn collectively into a protracted civil war, NATO nations are making individual decisions on how best to aid the rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad's regime.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with the French, British and Canadian ministers Tuesday and the issue came up during that session, according to a U.S. official. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the meeting and thus requested anonymity, said the ministers agreed to continue to monitor the situation, but did not decide on any specific actions.