Following fresh allegations of a chemical attack by the Assad regime, US President Barack Obama is considering new sanctions on Syria in a bid to pile more pressure on Russia and Syria.
Officials and diplomats in Washington are reportedly working on a new strategy that will include passing UN sanctions against those implicated in the chemical attacks.
The forces of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad have been accused of carrying out war crimes by targeting aid convoys and hospitals. An UN-backed panel is expected to meet in the next few weeks to present new findings about deadly chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015, while a separate UN panel has already pinned the blame for those attack on the Syrian Air Force.
The latest report due before 27 October is expected to go into more detail over the parties responsible for the deadly attacks, paving the way for targeted sanctions.
Germany, who has the highest number of Syrian refugees in Europe, along with other western states are seeking to take a much harder line in Syria, a position that provides alternative options should the UN route fail.
Officials indicated the scope could be broad, covering not only Syrians but also Russian firms that provided the means to carry out the bombing of civilian areas.
That would be intended as a strong signal to Moscow that it is not immune and continued support for the Assad regime would come at a price.
In reference to the hurdles of getting UN backing for a sanction, White House spokesman Josh Earnest, said: "I wouldn't rule out multilateral efforts outside of the UN to impose costs on Syria or Russia or others with regard to the situation inside of Syria."