WASHINGTON - Syria's chemical weapons could be used at "a moment's notice" and the international community should not accept any assurances from Syrian officials that they will not be used, US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Wednesday.

Rogers, a Republican, told Reuters in an interview that the Syrian government's activities related to chemical weapons were a shift in posture and a major concern.

"I believe that they have put elements of their chemical weapons program in a condition of which they could be used at a moment's notice, which is very different from before," Rogers said.

His comments came amid reports that Assad's forces had fired Soviet-era Scud ballistic missiles against rebels in a significant escalation of the nearly two-year-old conflict that has already killed more than 40,000 civilians.

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