AMMAN, Jordan - Residents in this capital city say the mood is tense as they anticipate a Western airstrike against neighbor Syria.

On Saturday, some waited in long lines for bread while others, frustrated, searched for flashlights and batteries, sold out in many shops. Most, though, stayed home, bracing for strikes they expect will come sooner rather than later.

Syrians in Amman say there's also confusion over what to do as the U.S. threatens to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 in the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21.

Thousands have fled to the Lebanese and Jordanian borders, taking shelter in schools and sometimes sleeping under the stars. Meanwhile, family members across the world pleaded with those staying behind in Damascus to leave.

"My grandmother says she'd rather die in Syria than become a refugee elsewhere," said Abdulwahab SayedOmar, a Syrian opposition activist based in London. "It was hard enough to get them to leave Aleppo for Damascus."

Even so, some Syrians say they hope Western military forces act soon.

"We are not afraid of the next step - the worst thing is to keep Assad in power," said Sami Ibrahim, an opposition activist in Damascus. "After that, things become easier."