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Syrian family in neighborhood where bombs rained down watches Obama statement

Mohamed Abdullah / Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter watches U.S. President Barack Obama's speech with his family in Ghouta, Damascus, on Aug. 31, 2013. Obama on Saturday backed away from an imminent military strike against Syria to seek the approval of the U.S. Congress, in a decision that likely delays U.S. action for at least 10 days.

NBC's Richard Engel describes how Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization for air strikes on Syria will likely play out in the region.

President Barack Obama's announcement that he would seek authorization from Congress before launching any military strike on Syria was watched closely in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, one of the neighborhoods hit by a suspected chemical attack last month.

Rebel forces fighting to topple Bashar Assad's government expressed frustration with Obama's decision, Ghazi Balkiz and Mike Brunker of NBC News report.

Louay Safi, a spokesman for the Syrian National Council, said he was surprised by the Obama decision to pass the decision on to Congress.

"The death will continue in Syria because of the (failure of the) leadership of the United States to act decisively at this point," he said, adding that "Obama had the moral responsibility to act and not waiver."

Alice Martins / AFP - Getty Images

A look back at the conflict that has overtaken the country.