Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, was the last rebel-held area in the eastern Ghouta region.
Top-level Israeli security officials met Wednesday to prepare for scenarios in which Israel is attacked by Iran or Syria, following a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump declaring he would bomb Syria.
"U.N. resolutions have been taken, and today we might be outside the framework of these resolutions, but we are within the framework of global law: This dictator is murdering his own people", Jean-Jacques Bridey, head of the French parliament's defence commission, said this past week. On Wednesday he went even further, warning Russian Federation "to get ready" after Moscow vowed to shoot down any missiles fired at Syria.
The recent military victories Syrian army gained in Douma and elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta were the main reasons behind Trump's threat to attack Syria, al-Atrash said.
Mr. Mattis' remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing followed a series of Trump tweets this week that initially indicated he was committed to bombing Syria but later suggested he was awaiting further advice and assessment.
Analysts agreed that in striking Syria without U.N. authorization - impossible given Russia's repeated vetoes on the Security Council - the United States, Britain, France were relying instead on a nebulous concept of "legal morality".
But Moscow, Syria's main backer in the seven-year civil war, immediately demanded an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, saying the Western powers had violated "the U.N. charter and the norms and principles of global law".
U.S. would not attack Syria over gas attack allegations: Syrian lawmaker
British Prime Minister Theresa May also called the strikes "right and legal", saying the global community would not tolerate the continued use of chemical weapons.
During a Cabinet meeting Thursday morning, the president said, "We are looking very seriously, very closely at that situation and we will see what happens folks".
The Russian military insists that the Douma attack might have been staged, adding that its units, dispatched to the site, found no traces of chemical weapons.
In Paris, France's Emmanuel Macron upped the pressure on Moscow by stating he had "proof" that the Assad's regime had used chemical weapons, and vowing a response "at a time of our choosing".
Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.
But across Western capitals opposition to military action also grew. The fact-finding mission of the OPCW is to start their work in Douma on Saturday.
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