Syria's foreign minister says United Nations investigators will not return Tuesday to the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack, because of a dispute over security with rebels.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told a news conference the mission's second day of on-site inspections was postponed to Wednesday.
The U.N. team began its probe Monday in a suburb of Damascus, including taking blood samples from victims of the attack last week that activists and rebels blamed on Syrian forces. The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons.
Moualem also warned against any outside military intervention, saying possible U.S. airstrikes would serve the interests of Israel and al-Qaida. He says Syria will defend itself against any military strike.
Officials from the United States, Britain, France and Turkey say they are weighing potential options in response to the chemical weapons allegations against Syria.
Russia and Iran warned Tuesday of the drastic consequences for the region that would come with an outside military attack on Syria.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich cautioned against any action that bypasses the U.N. Security Council, and urged the United States and the entire international community to act within the U.N. charter.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said any action will be taken "in concert with the international community" and within the law.