In the face of public and some congressional opposition to a potential military strike in Syria, the Obama administration is set to release information about the alleged chemical attacks Friday afternoon as it prepares to move forward without the support of the British government.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had pushed for authority to join with the United States in a potential effort against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, admitted defeat after a parliamentary vote Thursday.
"It is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action," Cameron said following the vote. "I get that and will act accordingly."
Germany also announced that it would not be joining the U.S. in any Syrian intervention, but France said it would.
"Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation," said French President Francoise Hollande in Le Monde. "That is valid for Britain as it is for France. All the options are on the table. France wants action that is in proportion and firm against the Damascus regime."
Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to deliver remarks on Syria at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
President Barack Obama briefed congressional members Thursday evening on the administration's thinking but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said it was not meant to "convince anyone of anything."
"Every nation has a responsibility to make their own decisions and we respect that," he said speaking with reporters in the Philippines, according to The Associated Press. "As to international effort and collaboration, it is the goal of President Obama and our government that whatever decision is taken that it be an international collaboration and effort."
Following the call, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – a staunch opponent of the Iraq War – said she would support a "measured, targeted and limited approach."
"Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security," she said in a release. "We must be clear that the United States rejects the use of chemical weapons by Assad or any other regime. What Assad has done is outside the realm of basic human rights."
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also said he supports a U.S. strike.
"While I'm opposed to American boots on the ground in Syria, I would support surgical, proportional military strikes given the strong evidence of the Assad regime's continued use of chemical warfare," he said in a release.
Echoing other congressional leaders, both urged Obama to continue to work closely and consult with Congress as the plans unfold, but stopped short of demanding he seek a congressional vote to authorize action. A bipartisan group of more than a 100 House members hassigned a letter, however, requesting Obama seek congressional approval.
Echoes of President George W. Bush's decision to head to war in Iraq in 2003 loom over the Syrian conflict, but this time it's Obama, who voted against that campaign, leading the call to arms from the White House.
Bush, in an interview with Fox News Friday, declined to weigh in specifically on Syria but said he was never a fan of Assad.
"As time passes people forget the lessons of 9/11 and one of the lessons was the human condition elsewhere matters to the national security of the United States," he said.
The civil war in Syria has lasted two years and left more than 100,000 dead. U.N. weapons inspectors, conducting an investigation into whether or not chemical weapons were used August 21, are expected to complete their work Saturday.