Japan to avoid direct support for U.S. strike on Syria

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.

Mattis said he personally believes Syria is guilty of an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons, while noting that the worldwide fact-finding team would likely fall short of determining who was responsible.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

"I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence", he said, indicating that a decision is yet to be made.

Without elaborating on the sources of her information, Ms. Haley said the American government had estimated that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons "at least 50 times" since the war started.

Later, May's office said she had spoken with Trump by telephone, and the two had agreed it was vital to challenge Assad's use of chemical weapons, and that they would continue to work closely together to do so.

During the two-hour meeting yesterday afternoon, ministers agreed to join forces with the U.S. and France to prevent Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's forces from launching an "appalling and inhumane" attack again.

Prime Minister Theresa May was holding an emergency cabinet to discuss joining mooted strikes by the United States and allies, as rival politicians and some Conservative colleagues called for a parliamentary vote before any British involvement.

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He said the USA is considering a response, including military attacks.

Opposition lawmakers have called on May to give Parliament a vote before committing British troops.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said parliament should be consulted before May approved military action. A YouGov poll showed just one in five members of the public support a strike on Syria. The Downing Street statement did not mention parliament, and a spokeswoman did not comment on those reports.

British lawmakers voted down taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.

Britain has launched air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, but not against the country's government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said after speaking with Macron on Thursday that Germany won't participate in possible military action in Syria, but supports sending a message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.

Mattis' remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing followed a series of Trump tweets this week that initially indicated he was committed to bombing Syria but later suggested he was awaiting further advice and assessment.

  • Sonia Alvarado