UN submits Syria samples for tests

The United Nations will now wait to confirm whether pro-government forces used sarin gas on Syrians.

An image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network showing people inspecting bodies of civilians which Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces on 21 August 2013. Picture: AFP

BEIRUT - United Nations (UN) investigators on Monday submitted samples gathered in Damascus relating to attacks allegedly using chemical weapons.

The UN says it will wait until the results are released before making any decisions on whether the Syrian government carried out the apparent sarin gas attacks.

But it could take weeks before results are determined.

Meanwhile, United States (US) President Barack Obama said he had no doubt Damascus was responsible.

He chose to let the US Congress vote on the issue, which will likely only take place after Congress reconvenes on 9 September.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the case is building for strikes, but has still not presented evidence to the public.

Speaking to CNN, Kerry said, "We don't contemplate that the Congress is going to vote no."

At the same time, Damascus says Obama is confused and undecided on what to do.

It warns it's capable of confronting any US-led attacks and has asked the UN to step in.

It's unlikely, for now at least, that the UN will sanction strikes against Syria.

TENSIONS BUILDING

Lebanese opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Eyewitness News that Obama has lost the chance to strike.

They say there's now plenty of time for al-Assad to hide the evidence.

But other people say they fear that any US strike will trigger Hezbollah and other Islamist groups hiding in Lebanon.

This could lead to all out regional war.