Around 400 US Marines have been dispatched to a US base in Greece ahead of deployment on warships off Libya, an American military spokesman said today.

"The operation is part of forces reposition in the region... with regard to Libya," said Paul Farley, spokemsan for the US Souda base on the island of Crete.

He said the troops from North Carolina arrived at the base on Wednesday and would later join two US warships in Mediterranean.

The USS Kearsage and the USS Ponce steamed into the Mediterranean en route to Libya yesterday, the Suez Canal Authority said.

The Kearsage amphibious ready group, with about 800 marines, a fleet of helicopters and medical facilities, could support humanitarian efforts as well as military operations.

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