Israel attacked two targets in Syria, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network reported.
Not a hundred miles from Damascus, a Syrian rebel lies in a hospital bed, an Israeli sentry at the door. Nearby a Syrian mother sits next to her daughter, shot in the back by a sniper.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday he saw a possible breakthrough in the crisis with Syria after Russia proposed that its ally Damascus hand over its chemical weapons for destruction, which could avert planned U.S. military strikes.
A somber-looking Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal before 100,000 people on Saturday to avert a widening of Syria's conflict, urging world leaders to pull humanity out of a "spiral of sorrow and death."
Russia said on Wednesday that a military strike on Syria could have catastrophic effects if a missile hit a small reactor near Damascus that contains radioactive uranium.
People in Damascus stocked up on supplies on Wednesday and some left homes close to potential targets as U.S. officials described plans for multi-national strikes on Syria that could last for days.
Syria's advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas, Israeli sources said on Tuesday.
A car bomb and two other explosives went off at the main gate of the Syrian Interior Ministry in Damascus on Wednesday, causing some deaths, state television said.
Syrian rebels clashed with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad near Damascus airport on Tuesday, battling for the capital's outskirts after 20 months of conflict which the United Nations said has driven half a million people from the country.
As rebel forces move closer to Damascus, there are reports of activity in Syrian chemical weapons sites, raising fears in the region that Syria could use those chemical weapons.
Damascus is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. International flights into and out of the capital continued despite throughout 20-months of fighting between troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the rebels seeking to depose him. But as of Friday, the flights have stopped.
President Barack Obama bluntly warned Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday not to cross a "red line" by using chemical or biological weapons in his country's bloody conflict and suggested that such action would prompt the United States to consider a military response.
The United States and its allies are discussing a worst-case scenario that could require tens of thousands of ground troops to go into Syria to secure chemical and biological weapons sites following the fall of President Bashar Assad's government, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.
Dozens of Druse students studying in Syria returned to their Golan Heights homes.
Syrian government control of Damascus is slipping and President Bashar Assad has redeployed troops from areas near the Israeli border to bolster his forces around the city, Israel's army intelligence chief said on Tuesday.
Hamas is reportedly thinning its ranks in Damascus as pan-Arab pressure builds on the Syrian regime.