The drumbeat of military action appeared to grow louder, as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians.
Conservative former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, tweeted: "We need a clear response to the Syrian chemical outrage".
Earlier on Wednesday, May said all the indications were that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the attack in the town of Douma and that such assaults could not go unchallenged. In another tweet on Thursday, Trump wrote that an attack on Syria "could be very soon or not so soon at all!" A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons. The Syrian government has denied the allegations.
Syria warned that it will have "no other choice" but to defend itself if the West launches military action.
Citing US estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons "at least 50 times" in the seven-year war, Haley said: "All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons". "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".
Echoing the U.S. stance, France said Assad's government had reached a "point of no return" with repeated use of chemical weapons.
British Prime Minister Theresa May's senior ministers agreed on the need for action at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, but Downing Street did not specify what measures the United Kingdom would take, reports CNN.
After meeting for more than two hours, the Cabinet gave May the green light to join the USA and France in planning possible strikes, but also left open the possibility of other responses.
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"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", a spokeswoman for the prime minister said in a statement after the meeting.
But rival politicians and some Conservative colleagues have called for a parliamentary vote before any British involvement.
Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins.
Although Mattis noted the risks of military action, he emphasized that Syria's use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.
Post-World War II Germany typically has been reluctant to engage in military action, and parliamentary approval is required for any military missions overseas.
"I think it is important to have a common line, without Germany participating militarily", Merkel said.
But British involvement in further military intervention is controversial at home, in a country still haunted by its role in the US-led invasion of Iraq. Multiple Islamic State retaliatory attacks have targeted French soil, including just last month. France also has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, and an aviation center in Qatar at the USA air base at Al Udeid.
In addition, a French frigate is stationed off of Lebanon in worldwide waters.