Syria on Tuesday challenged the international community to prove that the army used chemical weapons and said foreign military intervention in its civil war would only serve the interests of Israel and Al Qaeda.
"The pretext of chemical weapons is false and unfounded. If those who accuse our armed forces of using chemical weapons have any evidence, I challenge them to show it to public opinion and the international community," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in a press conference.
The U.N. experts who traveled to Syria to determine whether chemical weapons have been used in the civil war have delayed until Wednesday making another visit to the site of the supposed attack.
The U.N. team plans to return to the rebel-controlled Ghouta area outside Damascus, where the opposition alleges the Assad regime staged a chemical attack that killed more than 1,000 people last Wednesday.
The weapons experts "could not enter the Moadamiyet al-Sham area today because the armed groups have not reached agreement among themselves on guarantees to protect them," Al-Muallem said.
Foreign military intervention will not weak Syria's military capabilities in its "war against terrorism," the foreign minister said.
"Any military action in this region has the objective of helping Israel, and, secondly, it will help the efforts of the al-Nusra Front, linked to Al Qaeda," Al-Muallem said.
The U.N. mission, which arrived in Syria before the ostensible chemical attack last week, spent about three hours Monday in Moadamiyet al-Sham
Snipers attacked one of their vehicles as the U.N. mission entered the Damascus suburb, forcing the team to go back to the capital for a replacement vehicle.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, who initially called the allegations of chemical weapons use an "insult to common sense," amplified his denial Monday in comments to Russian daily Izvestia.
"The area of the claimed attack is in contiguity with the Syrian army positions, so how is it possible that any country would use chemical weapons in an area where its own forces are located?" Assad said.
More than 92,000 people died in Syria's internal conflict between March 2011 and April 2013, according to a report released in June by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. EFE