A senior U.S. official told NBC News that the crisis in Syria is "past the point of no return" and that airstrikes are expected "within days."
The unnamed official made the comments as UN inspectors continue to investigate the use of chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus last week. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the international community to refrain from taking action until the inspectors have concluded their inquiry.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council met to discuss a resolution that would authorize the use of military force against Syria. Russia and China, both permanent members of the Security Council carrying veto power, oppose intervention.
NBC News added that American and British Navy vessels are in position off the coast of Syria.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuch Hagel confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. is ready to strike in case President Obama orders military action. "We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take," Hagel said during a trip to Brunei, according to Reuters. "We are ready to go, like that," Hagel added.