“But we will support and see to it that every effort is being made to show that this use of chemical weapons is unacceptable,” Merkel added.
What this means for Germany is the support of activities in the UN Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Chancellor said.
And if the US, the UK and France were to take military action, Berlin would seek other ways to help which don’t involve the military.
Merkel also condemned the use of chemical weapons of all kinds, stating that it is now evident the Syrian regime failed to eradicate its chemical weapons, after a toxic gas attack blamed on Damascus.
“We… must now acknowledge that it is obvious that the destruction was not completely carried out,” she said, noting that there is “strong evidence” that Damascus deployed the chemical weapons.
Damascus narrowly avoided US and French air strikes in 2013 in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack by agreeing to hand over its chemical arsenal.
Following Saturday's alleged chemical attack in rebel-held Douma, US President Donald Trump this week ratcheted up the pressure on Damascus, warning in a series of tweets that “missiles will be coming” in retaliation.
Germany has deployed reconnaissance and refuelling flights as part of the international anti-jihadist operation in Syria.
But any further military role would require parliamentary approval.