A day after an Obama administration official accused the Syrian government of engaging in chemical warfare against its own people, U.N. inspectors left the war-ravaged nation Saturday carrying evidence from the sites of the alleged chemical weapons attacks.
Syria warned the United States that it is prepared to confront any aggression. As more details emerge out of Syria, these are the latest developments.
-- President Barack Obama is turning to Congress to approve military action against Syria because such a mission has not received enough support across the world and in the United States, influential Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov said in a Twitter message Saturday.
-- U.N. chemical weapons inspectors could take as long as three weeks to analyze evidence from the sites of alleged Syrian chemical weapons attacks, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Nine of the 12 inspectors are part of the group. An independent chemical weapons expert, however, suggested the results may require as little as a week.
-- Several moderate Democratic senators made a strong case to administration officials on Friday that Obama needs congressional authorization for military action against Syria, a Republican senator told CNN on Saturday. The senator was on a Friday call with members of the Senate's foreign relations and armed services committees.
-- Sen. John Cornyn, top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Saturday he appreciates Obama's decision to seek congressional approval but that he should have demanded that Congress return immediately to debate the issue.
-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Saturday military action in response to Assad's use of chemical weapons -- limited in scope and duration and without boots on the ground -- is in America's national security interest and furthers regional stability and global security.
-- Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said Saturday they cannot support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of a strategy to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power and bring an end to the conflict. Anything less would be an inadequate response to crimes against humanity and send the wrong signal to America's friends and allies, they said.
-- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Saturday he is "encouraged President Obama now says he will fulfill his constitutional obligation to seek authorization for any potential military action in Syria."
-- "If the Syrian regime thinks they'll gain by any delay if the U.S. takes military action in the future, they'd be sorely mistaken," a U.S. defense official said Saturday, adding the American military is able to deal with the coming days of uncertainty about a strike.
-- Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with the Syrian opposition leader and the Saudi foreign minister to underscore President Barack Obama's commitment to holding the Syrian regime accountable for last week's chemical weapons attack, a senior State Department official said Saturday.
-- It was around 7 p.m. Friday night that Obama came to his decision to seek congressional approval, senior administration officials said Saturday. He was wrestling with the decision all week, and there was a debate within the president's senior advisers after his decision, the officials said.
-- Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Saturday he will work with Senate leaders "as expeditiously as possible" to authorize use of military force against Syria. "We say what we mean, we mean what we say, and we don't look away when undeniable war crimes are committed," the New Jersey Democrat said.
-- Iranian lawmakers arrived in Damascus on Saturday "as a sign of solidarity with the Syrian government," Iran's state-run news agency IRNA reported.
-- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Saturday that Obama "wisely chose" to seek congressional support for military action against Syria. Congressional authorization, he said, would strengthen Obama's decision to take action.
-- A spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Coalition told CNN's Ivan Watson on Saturday that the opposition group was surprised by Obama's decision to consult Congress before any military action against Syria. Louay Safi said it was a "great disappointment" because they expected action after the U.S. administration blamed the Assad regime for carrying out the chemical weapons attack. "Our fear now is that the lack of action could embolden the regime and they repeat his attacks in a more serious way," Safi said.
-- Republican leadership aides told CNN's Dana Bash on Saturday that the congressional vote on action against Syria is going to depend on the White House. They said the president needs to make his case to Congress and the American people. The White House also needs to answer the questions that the House speaker and others