By Elise Labott, reporting from Jerusalem
Robert Ford, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, is expected to leave his post in July, a senior State Department official said.
The move was expected and does not signify a policy shift on Syria, as his term was due to end, the official said.
His departure from the post is considered part of the regular shuffle of ambassadors, which takes place during the summer, the official said.
Ford was pulled from Damascus in October 2011 due to "credible threats against his personal safety," the State Department said at the time.
As Israel finds itself drawn into the Syrian conflict, CNN's Elise Labott examines efforts to prepare for a possible confrontation. Labott, CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter, is based in Washington but currently reporting from Jerusalem.
By CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Kevin Liptak
Sen. John McCain visited rebels in Syria on Monday, his communications director confirmed to CNN, making the Arizona Republican the highest ranking elected official from the United States to visit the war-torn country.
Brian Rogers confirmed a report that originally appeared on The Daily Beast, which indicated McCain entered Syria through Turkey, and remained in the country for several hours.
While in Syria, McCain met with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, according to the Daily Beast. He also met with other rebel leaders who traveled the country to meet him.
McCain is the leading voice in Congress for a greater U.S. role in ending Syria's civil war, which has been waged for more than two years. He has suggested establishing "safe zones" for Syria's rebels and taking out the regime's air assets, along with providing lethal weapons to Syria's opposition.
More and more Americans are concerned about the situation in civil-war ravaged Syria, according to a new national survey.
But the CNN/ORC International poll, released Monday, also indicates the public remains cautious over charges that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its citizens.
According to the survey, 36% of Americans are very concerned about the current situation in Syria, with 43% saying they are somewhat concerned and nearly one in five not concerned. The 36% who are concerned is up seven percentage points from a CNN poll conducted last August.
There seems to be a generational divide, with 47% of those age 50 and older very concerned. That number drops to 28% for those under 50.
By Jill Dougherty
Meeting in Rome with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday that the United States would provide an additional $100 million in humanitarian assistance for refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria, bringing the total amount of aid to $510 million.
Kerry also said that he is working to bring all parties together to create a transitional government and that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not be part of that government.
Jordan, which is being inundated by a wave of Syrian refugees, will receive nearly $43 million, which will support United Nations humanitarian programs in the region.
By CNN's Kevin Liptak
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee offered legislation Monday that would allow the United States to provide lethal weapons to the Syrian opposition, a step President Barack Obama has yet to publically endorse.
Sen. Robert Menendez's bill would allow U.S.-provided arms, military training and supplies to go to groups that have been vetted and cleared, and establish a $250 million fund to help support a political transition in Syria, where a civil war has been waged for over 2 years.
The bill comes amid reports that chemical weapons have been used in the country. The White House notified lawmakers in April that the United States had established, with "varying degrees of confidence," that a sarin gas attack had taken place in Syria. But over the weekend a U.N. official said evidence points to the use of the deadly nerve agent by Syrian rebel forces, not the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. A spokesman for the Rebel Free Syrian Army disputed those claims.
Menendez, along with a group of other lawmakers, has pushed for greater U.S. involvement in Syria since before the reports of chemical weapons emerged.FULL STORY
By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Secretary of State John Kerry departed for Russia on Monday, as the conflict in Syria heads into a new and potentially more dangerous phase, and the Obama administration tries to pin down who used chemical weapons.
Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said Monday there are "strong suspicions... if not yet, let's say, indisputable proof" that sarin gas was used in Syria by opposition forces, rather than by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The U.N. commission later issued a statement saying it "has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict."
By Frederik Pleitgen and Sara Sidner
A Syrian official called an attack Sunday on the nation's military research facility a "declaration of war" by Israel.
In an interview with CNN, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad said the attack represented an alliance between Islamic terrorists and Israel.
He added that Syria would retaliate against Israel in its own time and way.
By Tom Watkins, CNN
[Urgent update, 8:19 p.m.]
A number of explosions on Sunday rocked the Damascus suburb of Jamraya, hitting a "scientific research center," according to Syrian state TV. The news report said Israeli rockets struck the area.
[Original story published at 3:40 p.m.]
Sectarian violence reported in Syrian city of Baniyas
Sectarian violence has erupted in northwestern Syria, where three consecutive days of killing by mostly Alawite forces have left hundreds of predominantly Sunni residents dead, opposition groups said Saturday.
"The regime attacked the town of Beyda and other neighboring areas from the sea with rockets before security forces and militias loyal to the regime entered the area and conducted mass executions," Free Syrian Army chief of staff Gen. Salim Idris said by phone from Antakya, Turkey.
By Barbara Starr
The United States believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria, two U.S. officials tell CNN.
U.S. and Western intelligence agencies are reviewing classified data showing Israel most likely conducted a strike in the Thursday-Friday time frame, according to both officials. This is the same time frame that the U.S. collected additional data showing Israel was flying a high number of warplanes over Lebanon.
One official said the United States had limited information so far and could not yet confirm those are the specific warplanes that conducted a strike. Based on initial indications, the U.S. does not believe Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace to conduct the strikes.