Erin Burnett OutFront -

Exclusive: Panetta says Syria's chemical weapons represent a real danger

Our fifth story OutFront: a desperate situation.

Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fired at least four short-range scud missiles at rebel fighters today, according to U.S. officials.

The White House says this escalation in fighting is just the latest example of the Assad regime's desperate attempts to defeat the opposition in a civil war that has killed almost 40,000 people over twenty months.

The United States is monitoring the situation closely. Earlier today, Erin sat down with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Afghanistan in an exclusive interview and asked him if he is concerned about Syria using chemical weapons.