Syria called President Barack Obama's warning of possible U.S. military action in the 18-month-old conflict "propaganda," as 230 were reported killed.
Obama threatened military action against Syria Monday if evidence suggested President Bashar Assad's regime was moving chemical or biological weapons.
"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama told reporters at the White House.
"That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."
"Obama's threats are simply propaganda linked to the U.S. elections," Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil told reporters in Moscow Tuesday, as he stood alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following a meeting between the two.
Obama was simply looking for a pretext to justify interference, Jamil claimed. He said the same thing happened in 2003 when the George W. Bush administration justified the U.S. invasion of Iraq by alleging Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. No WMD were found in Iraq.
U.S. intelligence services allege Syria has major stockpiles of extremely toxic nerve agents including mustard gas, VX and Sarin gas and the missile and artillery systems to deliver them.
The nerve agents are classified as weapons of mass destruction by the U.N. Security Council.
Jamil alleged that "any direct military intervention in Syria is impossible."
"Those who contemplate it are rushing into a much wider confrontation, one that goes beyond the Syrian borders," he said.
Lavrov reiterated the Kremlin's longstanding opposition to foreign intervention and repeated Russia's desire to help the Assad regime and opposition forces reach their own settlement.
Jamil said Syria was open to discussing Assad's resignation, but insisted Assad's exit could never be a precondition for talks.
"As for his resignation, making his resignation a condition for dialogue effectively makes holding such a dialogue impossible," he said. "During the negotiating process any issues can be discussed, and we are ready to discuss even this issue."
Most Syrian opposition parties and rebels fighting in the country have said they will accept no solution to the crisis short of Assad's exit. Washington and other Western powers have taken a similar stance, backing an Arab League proposal that would have Assad hand over power to Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa.
The State Department said Tuesday it saw no change in the regime's position with Jamil's statements.
"We saw the reports of the press conference that the deputy prime minister gave. Frankly, we didn't see anything terribly new there," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.
In Syria, fighting raged in and around Aleppo and Damascus, Syria's two largest cities, including the shelling of a suburban Damascus cemetery, where crowds were burying some of the 40 bodies found in a mosque basement after an "enforcement" raid by the Shabiha Alawite paramilitary militia.
Regime forces shelled, bombed and executed people in and around Daraa in southwestern Syria, near Jordan, opposition forces said. Daraa is the uprising's starting point.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees said at least 230 people, including women and children, were killed around the country Tuesday.
The dead included 104 in Damascus and suburbs, mostly at the shelled cemetery in Mudamieh Sham, 42 in Aleppo, 32 in Daraa, and the remaining in Deir Ezzor, Homs, Idlib. Hama and Lattakia.
The tally could not be independently confirmed.