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Free Syrian Army rejects Russian chemical weapons proposal

Free Syrian Army rejects Russian chemical weapons proposal
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The head of a Western-backed rebel council has spelled out his group’s rejection of Russia’s plan for chemical weapons in Syria.

“We announce our definitive rejection of the Russian initiative to place chemical weapons under international custody,” said General Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army in a video message. “We ask that the international community not be content with withdrawing chemical weapons, which are a criminal instrument , but to hold the perpetrator accountable and prosecute him at the International Criminal Court.”

The rebel leader appealed to what he termed “friendly” countries to provide more weapons and ammunition to the rebels.

The reaction comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Geneva to hear more about Russia’s plans to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.

One US official is quoted as saying one of the first steps Washington is looking for is the government of President Bashar al-Assad to quickly make a complete public declaration of its chemical weapons stockpiles, as a prelude to allowing them to be inspected and neutralised.

US President Barack Obama had threatened an air-strike to punish al-Assad for an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

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