PARIS (Reuters) - France aims to build a coalition of countries to back military action against the Syrian government in response to a chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday.

"This act cannot be left without a response," Ayrault said after presenting an intelligence report on Syria to lawmakers. "It's not for France to act alone. The president is continuing his work of persuasion to bring together a coalition without delay."

"France is determined to penalize the use of chemical weapons by (President Bashar al-)Assad's regime and to dissuade with a forceful and firm response," Ayrault said. "The objective is neither to topple the regime or liberate the country." he said, adding that only a political solution in Syria was possible.

(Reporting By John Irish and Alexandria Sage; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)