"Serious attention has been paid in Moscow to a statement by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about measures, ordered by president Barack Obama, to make American armed forces ready for armed action against Syria at any moment," a news agency quoted Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as saying on Sunday.

Syrian rebels claimed that president Bashar al-Assad's forces killed as many as 1,300 people in the chemical weapons attack on Wednesday in the suburbs of Damascus, an allegation denied by the Syrian government.

The UN investigation team is set to start on-site fact-finding activities on Monday on the latest incident, and the Syrian government has agreed to provide necessary cooperation, including a ceasefire at related locations.

Welcoming Syria's decision to provide necessary cooperation to the UN, Lukashevich urged the international community to show patience and wait for the results of the UN investigation to come out.

The diplomat also said it is ‘reminiscent of the events 10 years ago in which, using false information that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction as a pretext and bypassing the UN, the US launched a reckless attack with consequences that everyone is well aware of’.

He warned that any unilateral armed action that bypasses the UN would ‘undermine international efforts to find a political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict... and have an extremely destructive effect on what already is an explosive situation in the Middle East’.

 (Agencies)

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