Topic: Protests in Syria
- Human Rights Watch Blasts UN Syria Resolution
- Chemical Weapons Watchdog to Start Syria Inspections Soon – Lavrov
- New Chemical Attack Probe in Syria ‘Possible’ – Chief Inspector
- UN Syria Resolution Rules Out Use of Force – Moscow
- OPCW Makes Key Decision on Syria Chemical Weapons
DUBAI, September 29 (RIA Novosti) – The Syrian leadership’s fears that some chemical weapons could end up in the hands of rebels pushed Damascus to agree to place the weapons under international control, Syria’s foreign minister has told a UAE-based Arabic news channel.
“After militants used chemical weapons a few months ago in Khan al-Assal [near Aleppo], [President Bashar] Assad started thinking about the danger of that problem from the viewpoint of protecting the Syrian people,” Walid Muallem told Sky News Arabia.
Muallem was apparently referring to the March 19 incident in the city of Aleppo that reportedly left 26 civilians and soldiers dead and another 86 people injured. Russia – a key ally of Syria – investigated the alleged chemical weapons use in Aleppo in March and said the type of sarin used in that incident was homemade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this week.
Muallem also told Sky News Arabia that some chemical weapons storage sites are hard to reach as rebels control roads leading to them.
“This was one of the reasons why Syria agreed to put its chemical weapons under international control,” he said.
The diplomat expressed regret that the UN had failed to take into account Russia-submitted proof of chemical weapons use by rebels.
Russia remains one of the staunchest supporters of the ruling regime in Syria, where over two years of fighting between government and opposition forces have claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to UN estimates.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed a draft resolution on Friday, imposing binding obligations on the Syrian government to eliminate its chemical weapons program for the first time since unrest began there in March 2011.
The resolution rules out any use of force, Lavrov said Friday, adding that any possible use of force in the future under the UN Charter's Chapter VII would require a new resolution, if there is “conclusive and unequivocal proof” of noncompliance.
Experts from the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will depart for Syria soon to inspect the country’s chemical weapon stockpiles, Russia’s foreign minister said Friday in an interview with Russia's Channel One.
The administration of US President Barack Obama has accused Syrian President Assad’s government of being responsible for an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that Washington claims left more than 1,400 dead.
Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly suggested in recent weeks that they have evidence showing that the attack was likely carried out by Syrian rebels seeking to frame Assad in order to secure outside military intervention against government forces.
After weeks of intense diplomacy and an almost three-day marathon of talks in Geneva between Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, Moscow and Washington reached a breakthrough agreement earlier this month to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control for eventual destruction.
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