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An Israeli soldier walks next to Merkava tanks in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria on Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will strike back "fiercely" if Syria attacks the Jewish state. Menahem Kahana / Agence France-Presse
The United Nations Security Council was set for a showdown over Syria on Wednesday after the United Kingdom sought authorization for Western military action that seems certain to be vetoed by Russia.