As Theresa May received the backing from her Cabinet to carry out military intervention in Syria, the largest US air and naval strike force since the 2003 Iraq war was heading towards Syria.
The military action follows a suspected chemical weapon attack in Douma over last weekend, which is believed to have been carried out by the Russian-backed Syrian Government and left as many as 40 people dead.
US-led strikes are expected within the next three days.
It is understood that the US is amassing ten warships and two submarines in the Mediterranean and Gulf region. The mobilisation will give Mr Trump the option for a significant military campaign against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The USS Donald Cook, a guidedmissile destroyer with up to 60 Tomahawk missiles, is already within range. Three other destroyers are also close by. In addition, the USS Harry S Truman, a nuclear-powered carrier with 90 aircraft and five escort ships, which set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday, could be included in any action by the end of next week.
The fallout from the Douma attack has formed a very dangerous standoff between Russia and the West. Moscow has signalled that it is likely to shoot back at US-led missiles, warships and jets if they strike against Syria. This in itself has the potential to bring the two nuclear-armed sides into direct conflict for the first time.
Both Russia and Syria are denying any state-led involvement in the attack.
However, the French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France has proof that the Syrian regime, which is supported by Russia and Iran, carried out the chemical strike on the rebel-held town of Douma. Asked whether a French military strike was imminent, he said: “We will need to take decisions in due course, when we judge it most useful and effective.”
In Britain, the Prime Minister Theresa May faced down demands yesterday for a Commons vote on whether Britain should join the US in any punitive action against President Assad.
Senior ministers decided it “was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged”, according to the official read-out from an emergency meeting of the cabinet yesterday.
But the Labour Party, have called for a UN-led investigation into the matter, clearly forgetting that such an issue was vetoed by Russia earlier this week.