"The Security Council has a duty to move beyond the current stalemate and show leadership," Ban said. "This is a larger issue than the conflict in Syria. This is about our collective responsibility to humankind."
And al-Jaafari, the Syrian envoy, told CNN that all Syrians will be victims "of any escalation of the situation."
"We don't need wars. We need peaceful settlement of conflicts according to the charter of the United Nations," he said.
During Tuesday's hearing, Udall questioned whether the United States should be doing more to pressure Russia and China rather than going around the Security Council. Kerry said the Russians refused to sign off even on a resolution condemning a chemical attack that didn't assign blame.
"That doesn't mean we should turn our backs and say there's nothing we can do," Udall said.
But Kerry responded that if the Security Council is being blocked, "That doesn't mean we should turn our backs and say there's nothing we can do."
U.N. inspectors await test results
U.N. weapons inspectors left Syria on Saturday with samples that will help determine whether chemical weapons were used in the August 21 attack. Those samples will all be at laboratories by Wednesday and will be tested "strictly according to internationally recognized standards," Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters.
Those tests could take up to three weeks -- and even then, those tests will only determine whether a gas attack took place, not who was behind it.
"If confirmed, the use of chemical weapons by anyone, under any circumstances, will be a serious violation of international law and an outrageous war crime," Ban said.
Kerry said Sunday that hat blood and hair samples taken from medics at the scene of the alleged attack point to the nerve agent sarin. The samples reached U.S. hands "through an appropriate chain of custody, from east Damascus, from first responders," he said.
But David Kay, the former head of the U.S. weapons hunt in Iraq, said the "shadowing effect" of that war makes the U.N. inspectors' jobs more difficult.
"Remember, these results will be analyzed and re-analyzed around the world," said Kay, the former U.N. weapons inspector who ultimately determined Iraq had dismantled the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons programs used to justify the American-led invasion in 2003. "So as an inspector, you want to get it right rather than necessarily get it quick"
Kay told CNN the question has been settled for the Obama administration "and for many Americans, including myself. But that's not enough, because of Iraq."