Syria warned the United States on Friday that it is prepared to confront any aggression against the war-torn nation.
The challenge came as Western powers debated the use of military force against Syria's government in response to a chemical weapons attack in Damascus' suburbs last week.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said there's no doubt that Syria launched chemical weapons attacks against its own people. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has blamed the August 21 attack on rebels.
-- Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Lukashevich dismissed a possible missile strike as "unacceptable." He added that United Nations weapons inspectors are still investigating and "without any proof we are hearing threats of striking Syria."
-- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the evidence against al-Assad is overwhelming and, "therefore, the focus now legitimately lies on the most appropriate from of international response."
-- There has been no request by the United States or any other country for the Australian military to participate in possible strike against Syria, Rudd said.
-- Obama said he has not made a decision on how to respond to the chemical weapons attack, but he called it "a challenge to the world."
-- The president also said the U.S. military and his security team were looking at a "wide range of options," but he added that any American action would not involve sending troops or waging a long-term campaign.
-- Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that U.S. intelligence information found that 1,429 people were killed in last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria, including at least 426 children.
-- A preliminary U.S. government assessment asserted "with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs." Kerry said the question now is "what are we ... in the world going to do about it."
-- The United States says in an assessment released Friday that it has "intelligence that leads us to assess that Syrian chemical weapons personnel ... were preparing chemical weapons munitions prior to" what Washington believes was a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21.
-- Kerry said Syrian officials made preparations for chemical weapons use for three days prior to the August 21 attack, and that rockets were launched from areas controlled by the Syrian regime and landed in areas controlled by the opposition or contested.
-- A preliminary U.S. government assessment said 100 videos connected to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria "show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure."
-- Some videos show what appear to be fatalities "with no visible injuries" -- which is "consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents," said the government assessment.
-- Kerry said Friday that U.S. officials make "our own decisions on our own timelines, based on our own values and interests" in signaling a possible military response to last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria.
--The United States "will not repeat" justifying a military campaign on false intelligence, referring to the Iraq war under President George W. Bush, in detailing information about the chemical weapons attack in Syria, Kerry said.
-- A U.S. military response to last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria "will not involve boots on the ground" or be open-ended, Kerry said Friday, adding that America will not assume responsibility for Syria's civil war.
-- Citing support from the Arab League, Turkey and France, Kerry said Friday that "we are not alone in our will to do something about" last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria that he blamed on al-Assad's regime.
-- Obama administration officials are holding a conference call about Syria with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, a Senate source told CNN.
-- Seven people were killed and dozens were hurt Monday when a bomb hit a school in northern Syria, a strike anti-government activists believe was conducted with chemical weaponry.
-- The U.N. mission inspecting a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria has completed its collection of samples, said Martin Nesirky, spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general said Friday. Nesirky told reporters that inspectors visited a government military hospital in Damascus and will be leaving Syria on Saturday.
-- President Barack Obama met his National Security Council oFriday on the alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime last week, a White House official said.
-- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon intends to consult with countries at the United Nations on developments in Syria and is scheduled to meet with permanent members of the U.N. Security Council at noon Friday, his spokesperson said.