France is still ready to take action in Syria alongside the US, despite UK MPs blocking British involvement, President Francois Hollande has said.
He told Le Monde newspaper a strike within days could not be ruled out.
The US says it will continue to seek a coalition, and President Barack Obama is meeting his national security team.
The UN is investigating claims that the Syrian forces of President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. Mr Assad denies the claims, blaming rebels.
UN chemical weapons inspectors visited a hospital in a government-controlled area of Damascus on Friday.
The UN says the whole team will leave Syria on Saturday, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says they will then brief him on their preliminary findings.
Syrian officials say they will reject any “incomplete report” from the UN before the results of laboratory tests are known.
‘France is ready’
Mr Ban was scheduled to meet the five permanent members of the Security Council in New York on Friday.
They have held talks twice already this week, but after the last meeting on Thursday, diplomats said they were “far apart”.
Mr Hollande said the UK vote, in which parliament rejected a government motion supporting the principle of military action, made no difference to France’s position.
“Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France,” he said.
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