DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad says his country will defend itself against any aggression. That's according to Syria's state news agency.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said links between a poison gas attack on Syrian civilians and the Assad government are "undeniable," but U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain.

Congressional leaders and national security committees get briefed on the situation today.

President Barack Obama is vowing that American retaliation for the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons on its own people would send a "strong signal."

But British Prime Minister David Cameron is promising to hold off on any action until a U.N. inspection team can complete its investigation in Syria. The U.N. says the team should wrap up its inspection tomorrow and report its findings Saturday.


UK: Legal case for action in Syria clearly met

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government says the legal conditions have been clearly met for taking action against Syria for allegedly launching a chemical attack against its people.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office released two documents Thursday meant to bolster the case that chemical weapons were used by Syria. In addition to the legal summary, Downing Street released the Joint Intelligence Committee assessment that concludes it was "highly likely" that the regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.

The committee says there was no credible intelligence to suggest the attack was faked by opposition forces.

The documents were released ahead of a parliamentary debate on Syria. The opposition Labour Party has indicated it may not support even a watered down version of a resolution on Syria.


Egypt opposes Syria strikes, would not participate

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's foreign minister says his country strongly opposes military action against Syria and would not support possible punitive strikes by the United States and allies against the Syrian regime over alleged use of chemical weapons.

Nabil Fahmy says in a statement Thursday that Egypt condemns chemical weapons use by any side in Syria's civil war and is asking the international community to bring perpetrators to justice after a U.N. team investigating submits findings.

The Arab League this week said Syria's regime is responsible for the "heinous crime" involving chemical weapons. It did not state a position on foreign punitive strikes against Syria.

Arab League diplomats told The Associated Press the organization will not support military action. They spoke anonymously because of rules preventing them from being named.