Francois Fillon, France's ex-prime minister and leading figure in the opposition UMP party, said the French parliament should get the same privilege the U.S. Congress will have to vote on Syria intervention. France's parliament is scheduled to debate the issue Wednesday, but no vote is scheduled. President Francois Hollande backs Obama's decision for a strike. The French constitution doesn't require such a vote unless and until a French military intervention lasts longer than four months.
Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons and called for a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Syria. Francis spoke with anguish about Syria: "My heart is deeply wounded by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments" on the horizon, an apparent reference to the U.S. and France considering a military strike against the Syrian regime.
Five U.S. Navy destroyers were in the eastern Mediterranean Sea — armed with dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a range of about 1,000 nautical miles (1,151 miles, 1,852 kilometers) and are used for precise targeting. Obama announced Friday that "we are prepared to strike whenever we choose."
Iranian state TV said an Iranian parliamentary delegation in Damascus visited with Syrians allegedly injured in chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime blames on rebels. They were also expected to meet with the Syrian prime minister and foreign minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Israel's prime minister tried to soothe a jittery nation unnerved by the standoff between the U.S. and Syria, saying Israel is "calm and self-assured" and ready for "any possible scenario." More Israelis lined up to receive free gas masks, fearing Israel could be targeted in retribution if Syria is hit by a punitive strike.
Syrian refugees continued crossing the border into Turkey, despite the delay of a possible U.S. military strike targeting Assad's government. Refugee Mohammed Yaser said arms shipments to rebels would hurt Assad more than a U.S. strike: "If they give us weapons, we can deal with it in one week."