Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France has "proof" that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime against rebels in Douma and he would make a decision "in due time" along with the US on how to react.
"We have proof that chemical weapons were used last week, at least chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar Assad", said the French leader. He didn't elaborate on exactly what that proof is.
In the meantime, US President Donald Trump, who said on Wednesday that missiles were "coming", on Thursday tweeted that he "never said when".
Macron said French and USA officials were "working together very closely, and we will have decisions to take, at the time we choose, when we consider it most useful and most effective". "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"
It comes as the British Prime Minister Theresa May holds a special "war cabinet" to discuss her options.
France wants to remove the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities, Macron said.
"More fundamentally, there does seem to be some awareness that another round of strikes is unlikely to effective without a wider strategy, which for the moment is sorely lacking".
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cautioned against "any steps which could lead to an escalation of tensions".
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Since Saturday, several thousand rebels and civilians have left Douma for opposition-held territory in the north of Syria.
Western states are thought to be preparing missile strikes in response to the alleged attack.
"Of course, the chemical attack is what pushed us to agree" to a withdrawal from Douma, said high-ranking Jaish al-Islam member Yasser Dalwan.
Syria and its ally Russian Federation have both denied involvement amid worldwide outrage over Saturday's incident.
There was no official announcement by Damascus that its forces had retaken the town of Douma, located near the capital Damascus, from rebels.
Syria and its ally Russian Federation have both denied the accusations.
A team from the world's chemical arms watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was expected to arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday begin a fact-finding mission in Douma.