BEIRUT — Syria hailed an “historic American retreat” on Sunday after President Barack Obama delayed an imminent military strike by deciding to consult Congress.
As Obama stepped back from the brink, France said it could not act alone in punishing President Bashar al-Assad over a chemical weapons attack, making it the last remaining top Western ally to hesitate about bombing Syria.
Assad said on Sunday his country was capable of responding to any attack from other nations.
“Syria . . . is capable of confronting any external aggression,” state television quoted Assad as saying at a meeting with Iranian officials.