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Syrians bracing for possible U.S. strike

  • In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

    In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

  • In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

    In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)

  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, members of the UN investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

    In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, members of the UN investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Members of the local Syrian community march in protest against the United States' involvement in Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Allentown, Pa. President Barack Obama says he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria_but is considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    Members of the local Syrian community march in protest against the United States' involvement in Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Allentown, Pa. President Barack Obama says he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria_but is considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.  President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes.  (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.  President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes.  (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT

    A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT

  • A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT

    A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT

  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Erbin Ciity, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, U.N. investigation team with blue helmets speak with Free Syrian Army fighters in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Syria's state news agency quoted President Bashar Assad as saying Syria will defend itself against any aggression. (AP Photo/Erbin City via AP video)

    In this image taken from video obtained from the Erbin Ciity, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, U.N. investigation team with blue helmets speak with Free Syrian Army fighters in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Syria's state news agency quoted President Bashar Assad as saying Syria will defend itself against any aggression. (AP Photo/Erbin City via AP video)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.( AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.( AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)

  • French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)

    French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)

  • In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)
  • In this image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama meets with his national security staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Washington, including from left national security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/The White House, Pete Souza)
  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, members of the UN investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)
  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Members of the local Syrian community march in protest against the United States' involvement in Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, in Allentown, Pa. President Barack Obama says he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria_but is considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
  • A Syrian refugee holds a passport and a baby as she passes through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.  President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes.  (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.  President Barack Obama insists Syria must pay the price for chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians last week in the outskirts of Beirut and laid the groundwork for an expected punitive military strike. But questions remain about just how, when and who will participate in the strikes.  (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT
  • A helmet and a weapon of the Egyptian security forces are placed at a barricade as they prepare to watch the area in Beni Sueif, south of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Security has been beefed up across the country in anticipation of the protests. The Brotherhood has also called for sit-ins to protest the new interim leaders who took over after the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk) EGYPT OUT
  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Erbin Ciity, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, U.N. investigation team with blue helmets speak with Free Syrian Army fighters in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Syria's state news agency quoted President Bashar Assad as saying Syria will defend itself against any aggression. (AP Photo/Erbin City via AP video)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.(AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. United Nations experts are investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as the United States and its allies prepare for the possibility of a punitive strike against President Bashar Assad's regime, blamed by the Syrian opposition for the attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.( AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
  • Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. and wave Iraqi and Syrian flags during a demonstration in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Vice President Joe Biden listens as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)
  • French President Francois Hollande, center, speaks to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in preparation for the upcoming G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday Aug. 30, 2013. If France and the United States are ever going to move beyond French opposition to the Iraq War, this could be the time. President Barack Obama and Hollande spoke by phone Friday about Syria, and "share certainty about the chemical nature of the attack and the unmistakable responsibility of the Damascus regime" a Hollande official said. The two leaders are "of one mind" about the situation, he added. (AP Photo / Ian Langsdon, Pool)

Edging toward a punitive strike against Syria, President Obama said yesterday he is weighing “limited and narrow” action as the administration bluntly accused Bashar Assad’s government of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people – far more than previous estimates – including more than 400 children.

No “boots on the ground,” Obama said, seeking to reassure Americans weary after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With France as his only major public ally, Obama told reporters he has a strong preference for multilateral action. He added, “Frankly, part of the challenge we end up with here is a lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it.”

Halfway around the world, U.S. warships were in place in the Mediterranean Sea. They carried cruise missiles, long a first-line weapon of choice for presidents because they can find a target hundreds of miles distant without need of air cover or troops on the ground.

In what appeared increasingly like the pre-attack endgame, U.N. personnel dispatched to Syria carried out a fourth and final day of inspection as they sought to determine precisely what happened in last week’s attack. The international contingent arranged to depart today and head to laboratories in Europe with the samples they have collected.

Video said to be taken at the scene shows victims writhing in pain, twitching and exhibiting other symptoms associated with exposure to nerve agents. The videos distributed by activists to support their claims of a chemical attack were consistent with Associated Press reporting of shelling in the suburbs of Damascus at the time, though it was not known whether the victims had died from a poisonous gas attack.

The Syrian government said administration claims were “flagrant lies” akin to faulty Bush administration assertions before the Iraq invasion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. A Foreign Ministry statement read on state TV said that “under the pretext of protecting the Syrian people, they are making a case for an aggression that will kill hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians.”

Residents of Damascus stocked up on food and other necessities in anticipation of strikes, with no evident sign of panic. One man, 42-year-old Talal Dowayih, said: “I am not afraid from the Western threats to Syria; they created the chemical issue as a pretext for intervention, and they are trying to hit Syria for the sake of Israel.”

Obama met with his national security aides at the White House and then with diplomats from Baltic countries, saying he has not yet made a final decision on a response to the attack.

But the administration did nothing to discourage the predictions that he would act – and soon. It was an impression heightened both by strongly worded remarks from Secretary of State John Kerry and the release of an unclassified intelligence assessment that cited “high confidence” that the Syrian government carried out the attack.

In addition to the dead, the assessment reported that about 3,600 patients “displaying symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure” were seen at Damascus-area hospitals after the attack. To that, Kerry added that “a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime, reviewed the impact and actually was afraid they would be discovered.” He added for emphasis: “We know this.”

Legacy Comments4

"A foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic defeat in history and destroyed the credibility of the Office of the President, the Department of State, and the entire executive branch. All are exposed as a collection of third-rate liars. " After the Hillary LIE about the murders in Benghazi all credibility of this amateur bunch is lost

NO boots on the ground...Golf shoes on the links...Obama and Biden break out the mashie niblicks. Presidentin' is hard!

Outraged over what they saw in a Youtube video, Obama admin plans attack on Syria..

My God...National security adviser Susan Rice; Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden and Obama....The liar, the guy in contempt of congress, the poster child for plastic surgery gone wrong, Mr buy a shotgun, and Obama...What could go wrong.

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