Russian Federation and the United States failed on Tuesday to win support at the UN Security Council for their rival proposals to investigate chemical weapons use in Syria as the threat of military action loomed large.
It could be argued a strike is being carried out in support UN Security Council resolutions, as was the case in 1998 when a USA and British bombing campaign hit Iraqi weapons research and storage facilities to retaliate for the Iraqi government's refusal to cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors.
Moscow opposes any Western strike on its close ally Assad and has vetoed Security Council action on Syria 12 times since the conflict started.
After the defeat of Russia's second resolution, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said to U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley: "I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you're now developing for Syria".
As tensions escalate over attainable USA -led military reprisals for the suspected assault, the U.N.'s strongest physique remained paralyzed, unable to beat its deep divisions which have confirmed in the middle of the seven years of battle in Syria.
"If Russia and other parties, including the (Syrian) regime believe that they were not involved in this attack then they have nothing to fear from the independent investigation the United Nations is seeking", Labor's Penny Wong told ABC radio on Wednesday, ahead of a second emergency meeting by the security council.
Haley said the main difference between the US-drafted text and the Russian one is that Russia wanted to choose the investigators and assess the outcome while the USA text allows for an independent investigation.
"History will record that, on this day, Russian Federation chose protecting a monster over the lives of the Syrian people", Haley said, referring to Assad.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says "all the indications" are that Syrian forces were behind a chemical attack in the town of Douma, and insists that the "continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged". Bolivia voted against the draft resolution, while China abstained.
It was not immediately clear whether the announcement by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would delay or prevent a US strike in Syria.
The two Russian draft resolutions won six and five votes respectively.
Earlier the president's new national security adviser, John Bolton, urged President Donald Trump to skip his trip to South America this week because of the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Russian Federation proposed its own plan to send investigators to the site of the alleged attack.
That panel had found that the Syrian regime had dropped sarin on the village of Khan Sheikhun in April of previous year. A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.
"The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly".
The Council rejected a third text also proposed by Russian Federation which concerned the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).
Russian Federation has vetoed a proposal to set up an investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria. British MPs have previously voted against military action on Assad's regime, but have backed airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.