United Nations investigators will not return Tuesday to the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack because of security concerns.
A United Nations statement said the team planned to inspect one of the attack sites on Tuesday after traveling to the suburb of Moadamiyeh the day before. That visit was marred by sniper fire on one of the inspectors' vehicles.
The U.N. said an assessment of the sniper fire determined that the team should wait until Wednesday before conducting another inspection, in order to "improve preparedness and safety."
The Syrian government and rebels blamed each other for the sniper attack, which damaged a U.N. vehicle but caused no casualties. Both sides also accuse each other of responsibility for the apparent use of poison gas to kill of hundreds of civilians in rebel-held Damascus suburbs last Wednesday.
Western powers have vowed to hold the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable for the August 21 killings. But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday the government will defend itself against any attack and surprise its enemies.
British Prime Minister David Cameron instructed his nation's parliament to return from its summer recess on Thursday to decide on a response to the alleged Syrian government chemical strike.
Moallem said any U.S. air strikes on his nation would serve the interests of Israel and al-Qaida.