Israel's Prime Minister has warned that if Syria's President Assad does launch any kind of retaliatory attack then Israel will, in his words, respond forcefully.
Any Israeli attack on Syria under those circumstances will be be large scale, and Asad's allies in Lebanon and Iran will feel bound to respond. So this is one way in which a punishment action by the Western powers could lead very quickly to a regional conflict.
The prospect of a US and UK military intervention in Syria appears increasingly likely, but what would an attack by western forces involve?
A textile factory in Damascus has started producing gas masks in case of a repeat of a suspected chemical attack on the area.
Western countries including the UK are considering their response to Syria as evidence of a large-scale chemical attack in Damascus mounts.