President Barack Obama says he has decided the U.S. should take military action against Syria for the government's alleged use of chemical weapons, but, he says he will seek authorization from Congress for any use of force.
The president says, while he has the authority to act on his own, he believes it is important for the country to have a debate on the issue.
In a Saturday address to the nation, Mr. Obama said the U.S. could not and would not turn a 'blind eye to what happened in Damascus."
He added that any U.S. intervention in Syria would not be open-ended and would not include U.S. ground troops.
As Mr. Obama spoke outdoors in the rose garden, protesters near the White House chanted and waved signs to voice opposition to U.S. military intervention in Syria.
A flurry of diplomatic activity is underway on Syria's crisis.
The White House says senior national security officials are holding conference calls with Senate leaders on Saturday. On Sunday, the White House plans on holding a classified briefing on Syria for the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, the U.N. inspection team has wrapped up its work and left Syria.
A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the U.N. chief will be briefed further on Sunday by the head of the team. But in a Saturday briefing, the spokesman, Martin Nesirky, declined to say when the team would present its full report.
Nesirky said the team collected samples that will be analyzed in laboratories as well as witness statements and interviews with doctors and survivors.
The Syrian government has denied any role in chemical weapons attacks.
Also Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would be "utter nonsense" for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons when it is winning the war against "rebels."
In a statement, Mr. Putin urged the U.S. to allow the U.N. chemical weapons team to present its findings.
"As for the position of our American colleagues and friends who state that the government forces have used weapons of mass destruction, in this case used chemical weapons, and say that they have evidence - let them present them to the U.N. inspectors and the U.N. Security Council.''
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. intelligence community had "high confidence" in a report indicating the Syrian government carried out a poison gas attack last week.
Kerry said the evidence, presented in a declassified version of a report, shows more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in the attack, including at least 426 children.