UN chemical weapons inspectors are to leave Syria in 48 hours, and the British parliament was to debate on late Thursday a response to the Syrian regime’s alleged chemical weapons attacks.
The 20-member UN chemical weapons team is due to leave Syria by Saturday morning, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in Vienna.
In a move seen by the West as a delaying tactic, the Syrian government had requested on Wednesday that the team stay longer in order to investigate three other sites.
The push by Western leaders for military intervention has been stalled by political rows and diplomatic deadlock.
Efforts to reach a consensus among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council made little headway on Wednesday as China and Russia continued their objection to Western military intervention in Syria’s 30-month-old civil war.
The meeting was called to discuss a British resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Syria.
In Syria, rebels called on civilians to leave areas near al-Mezzeh military airport, on the outskirts of Damascus, following reports that the likely Western strike would hit government military facilities in the area.
Activists also said troops started to evacuate several military facilities in and around Damascus.
The al-Mezzeh military airport is a key base for launching attacks by regime forces across Damascus.