A show of unified strength from some western countries appears to have had the desired effect and the Syrian regime Sunday agreed to UN weapons inspectors accessing the alleged sites of this week's chemical weapons' attacks. Are the west over the moon at this news? Hardly, as a US representative said it was "too little too late to be credible".
BBC News reports: "Earlier, a senior US government official accused the Syrian authorities of intentionally delaying the UN probe "in order to facilitate the degradation of evidence of their use of chemical weapons".
"Any belated decision by the regime to grant access to the UN team would be considered too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime's persistent shelling and other intentional actions over the last five days," the official told reporters in Washington.
"Based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts, and other facts gathered by open sources, the US intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident.""
This follows reports that the alleged sites have been bombed by the Syrian regime forces. Russia stance remains that it is the rebels or their supporters that bombed the sites after launching the attacks in the first place.
That sounds like the forces and countries involved have little intention of waiting till after the UN inspectors get to work Monday and then deliver their results.
The rhetoric continues but it is doubtful that words will change what is likely to happen. After many months itching for another conflict in the region action seems to be imminent. There may not be widespread support in the USA and UK for such action though. That will not stop western leaders acting as they see fit.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reported the number of people killed and injured in this weeks toxic attacks in Syria but they have no evidence who the attackers were. As we reported early Sunday UK PM David Cameron and US President Obama spoke for around 40 minutes in a telephone call Saturday evening in which they agreed "significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community".