Damascus: Shelling continues as a capital awaits

There have been two loud explosions in Damascus but it's the usual shelling from army positions into rebel held areas, not the expected American barrage.

There is a plume of black smoke from a Damascus suburb, the call to prayer from the muezzin is sounding and traffic is flowing no less than usual. A capital awaits.

Not only did the UN inspectors leave a day early - their chief two days early - they left before dawn on Saturday. A hasty exit. Echoes of Iraq.

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Syria ready for US 'aggression'

President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria is capable of confronting any "external aggression", Reuters reports, citing state television. The United States are seeking approval from Congress to take military action.