Merkel says the strikes were needed "to maintain the effectiveness of the global rejection of chemical weapons use and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations".
Cabinet ministers have agreed on a "need to take action" against Syria, following a suspected chemical weapon attack that claimed the lives of dozens of people in the Damascus suburb of Douma.
Earlier in the day, Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian ambassador to the USA, said in NY that two investigating teams from the OPCW were scheduled to arrive in Syria within the next 24 hours.
The statement released by Downing Street after Thursday's Cabinet meeting made no direct reference to military action, but will be seen as a signal Britain would be prepared to join any US-led air strikes against the regime should the Americans decide to go ahead - putting it on a potential collision course with Assad's principal backer, Russia.
She told reporters during a visit to Birmingham that she was "appalled" but "not surprised" by Russia's decision to veto a draft resolution at the United Nations on Tuesday which sought to create a new body to determine responsibility for the attack.
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Downing Street spokesmen repeatedly declined to comment on that report.
"They agreed that the Assad regime had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons. It is not about regime change", May said in a statement.
"They agreed to keep working closely together on the worldwide response".
Ian Blackford, who heads the Scottish National Party group in Parliament, said May "presides over a minority government that has no majority or mandate for military action, and there must be no attempt to bypass Parliament". On Thursday, Trump tweeted that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"
French president Emmanuel Macron earlier voiced his opposition to the Assad regime as he declared his country had proof the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks.
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USA envoy Nikki Haley said Russian Federation , a Syrian military backer, had the "blood of Syrian children" on its hands. UN Security Council was temporarily suspended for consultations on the document to deploy OPCW mission to Syria's Douma.
Russia's UN ambassador last night called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
"It was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering by degrading the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability", May said.
Ken Clarke, the Conservative former chancellor, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in Westminster, also urged Mrs May to give MPs a vote on military action.
"This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a risky escalation of worldwide tensions", said the leader of the left-wing Scottish National Party, the third-biggest force in the British parliament.
France's government says it has no samples of the chemical weapons it believes were used in Syria, but launched a military response based on open-source information and intelligence gathering.
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