DAMASCUS, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government on Monday denied and slammed the allegations of chemical weapon use as the United States along with its Western allies move closer to a military intervention in the Middle East country.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the West's claims that his government used chemical weapons were "an insult to common sense," noting the United States would face "failure" if it decided to intervene militarily in Syria.
He made the remarks in an interview published on Monday with Russian newspaper Izvestia. The president also said that Russia supplies Syria with everything needed to protect the country and its people, which will lead to changing economic situation in that country for better.
Assad's remarks also came as the United Stated made the most harsh response so far to the alleged chemical weapon attack outside Damascus last week.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the chemical weapons use against civilians in Syria is "inexcusable" and "undeniable," noting President Barack Obama will be making an informed decision on how to respond.
"Indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry said in a statement.
Obama on Monday also exchanged views with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on "possible responses" to the alleged attack in a phone conversation. The two leaders agreed to continue close consultations over Syria, according to a White House statement.
The U.S. president also discussed the issue with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande over the weekend as his administration was mulling over military options, ranging from a cruise missile strike to a more sustained air campaign against Syria.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday that it is possible to respond to chemical weapons without unanimous UN Secretary Council backing, noting that he will not rule out whether actions could be taken this week.
Also on Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told local media that "all options are open" in response to the alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria, saying that a coordinated response will be "decided in the coming days."
The European Union and NATO also expressed concerns over Syria on Monday, urging to let the UN mission in Syria to examine the evidence as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Monday that calls for military intervention in Syria will wipe out efforts to hold an international meeting for peaceful settlement of the crisis.
Lavrov said that Western countries should not inflict military pressure on Damascus, urging them to "draft their policy not reactively but strategically."
He noted the use of force without the Security Council's sanction would be a major violation of international law, adding that Russia would not start military confrontation with anyone over Syria.
Monday is also the first day that a team of UN chemical weapons inspectors kicked off their investigation in Syria.
Despite a sniper attack against their convoy, the UN mission "visited two hospitals", "interviewed witnesses, survivors and doctors" and also "collected some samples" at the site of the latest alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 in the suburbs of Damascus, according to a UN statement.
In the latest statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he has instructed "to register a strong complaint to the Syrian government and authorities of opposition forces" over the sniper attack, calling for efforts to ensure the safety and security of the investigation teams.