08/29/2013 12:30 EDT | Updated 10/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Syria military mission not planned by Canada, Harper says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada has no plans for a military mission of its own in Syria, although the government supports its allies and has been convinced of the need for "forceful action."

Harper said he was a late convert to the idea that there needs to be Western military action in Syria. But, he said, after speaking to the leaders of Britain, France and the U.S., he's convinced the risk of chemical weapons being more widely used is too great.

"This is a very big risk and ... we do support our allies who are contemplating forceful action to deal with this. That said, at the present time the government of Canada has no plans, we have no plans of our own, to have a Canadian military mission," Harper said in Toronto.

"We have been and remain concerned when we look at this conflict that it is overwhelmingly sectarian in nature and does not have, at the present, any ideal or obvious outcomes."

On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird met with George Sabra, president of the Syrian National Council, which opposes the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.