the latest developments on Syria
European Union: Foreign ministers Saturday endorsed a “clear and strong response” to a chemical weapons attack that strongly points to the Syrian government, but they urged the U.S. to delay possible military action until U.N. inspectors report their findings.
United States: Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with more than two dozen foreign ministers during an informal meeting of the E.U. in Vilnius, Lithuania, thanked the E.U. for a “strong statement about the need for accountability.” A senior State Department official who attended Kerry’s meeting said Kerry made clear that the U.S. has not made any decision to wait.
Vatican: Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter’s Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday, answering Pope Francis’ call for a grass roots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria and in vigils around the world. The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part, making it one of the largest such rallies in the West. Francis issued a heartfelt plea for peace, saying, “Violence and war are never the way to peace! … War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity.”
Syria: Heavy government shelling of rebel positions near the Syrian capital killed 16 people, activists said.
What’s next: The U.N. report about the suspected gas attack Aug. 21 is not expected to be released until mid- to late September.