The United States will continue with efforts to build a coalition to take action in Syria, a senior official has said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel, speaking after Britain pulled out of taking military action , said: “Every nation has a responsibility to make their own decisions and we respect that of any nation. We are continuing to consult with the British.”
And he is still optimistic of persuading other countries to join in military action against the regime in Syria: “Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together, and I think you’re seeing a number of countries state, publicly state, their position on the use of chemical weapons”.
It comes as China said there should be no action against Syria until UN experts have finished their probe into suspected use of chemical weapons.
Foreign minister Wang Yi reportedly told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that China fully supported an independent and objective inspection, free from outside pressure.
The Xinhua news agency reported him saying: “Before the investigation finds out what really happened, all parties should avoid prejudging the results, and certainly ought not to forcefully push for the Security Council to take action.”
Who supports and opposes military intervention in Syria?
In the region
Turkey – It has been one of the most vocal critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since early on in the uprising.
Israel – Israeli forces have carried out three strikes on targets in Syria this year, reportedly to prevent weapons shipments reaching the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia – Apparently Saudi Arabia has been one of the main suppliers of funds to the Syrian rebels.
Iraq – Although not as critical of Syria as some Arab countries, Iraq is against an intervention. Any Western military move could lead to an increase in sectarian violence in Iraq.
Iran – Officials from Iran, Syria’s chief ally, said publicly that US-led strikes on Syria would provoke retaliation on Israel.
Egypt – Egypt’s foreign minister says his country strongly opposes military action against Syria and would not support possible punitive strikes.
Around the world
USA – President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria despite a rejection of action by its usual ally Britain and mounting concern from Congress.
United Kingdom – Parliament voted no to a proposal from Prime Minister David Cameron and his coalition government that would have authorised military action in Syria.
Russia – As one of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s biggest allies Russia is strongly opposed to any military intervention. Russia vetoed a UN resolution authorising “necessary measures” to intervene in Syria.
Germany – Is against any military action saying its international operations are already at “breaking point” and that a strike could create a “spiral of escalating violence”.
China – Is strongly against a strike and also vetoed a UN resolution authorising “necessary measures” to intervene in Syria. It says countries must wait until results of the probe are complete, it is calling for a “political resolution”.
Yet to decide
France – President Francois Hollande has urged a political solution but also said France stood ready to punish those behind the apparent gas attack.
Meanwhile, six British Air Force fighter jets arrived at a a UK military base in Cyprus, RAF Akrotiri. The deployment is being described as a defensive measure.