Attack will trigger terror, collapse of UN: Putin

Attack will trigger terror, collapse of UN: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US against any unilateral military strike on Syria, saying it would trigger a new wave of terrorism,...

  • Kerry, Lavrov meet in Geneva to end conflict
  • Assad ready to hand over chemical weapons
  • Syrian rebels blast Russian offer on arms
  • UN report likely on Monday: France
  • CIA begins delivering weapons to rebels

Washington (PTI): Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US against any unilateral military strike on Syria, saying it would trigger a new wave of terrorism, result in the collapse of the UN and claim more innocent victims as the conflict could spread beyond Syria's borders.

The Russian leader also said he has no doubt poison gas was used in Syria, but accused Syrian rebels for carrying out the chemical weapons attack. Efforts to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control began in Geneva with top US and Russian diplomats holding talks over Moscow's four-step formula to avert any military intervention.

The talks in Geneva between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the four-step plan includes Syria joining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will last till Friday, and could be extended to Saturday. These talks are meant to come up with a draft plan on how and when Syria will hand over its cache of chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad says his government has agreed to surrender its chemical weapons in response to Russia's initiative and not because of the US threat of attack. Assad told Russia's state Rossiya 24 news channel in an interview that is set to be broadcast fully later on Thursday that "Syria is transferring chemical weapons under international control because of Russia." He added that "the US threats hadn't influenced" his government's decision.

But, Syrian rebels have blasted the Russian proposal on securing their country's chemical weapons, saying that Bashar Assad's government should instead be made to face an international court for last month's attack near Damascus. The top rebel commander, Gen. Salim Idris, says regime officials should be referred to the International Criminal Court for the alleged August 21 chemical attack near the Syrian capital that killed hundreds.

Idris, speaking for the Free Syrian Army, says "chemical weapons were the tool of the crime" in the attack in Ghouta suburb. A report by UN inspectors probing an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria will "probably" be published on Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

"It will say that there was a chemical massacre... There will certainly be indications" of the origins of the attack, Fabius told French radio. The inspectors left Syria on August 31 after collecting samples as part of their probe into an August 21 chemical weapons attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital.

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to Syrian rebels as part of US plan to strengthen the opposition armed groups against Assad regime, even as Obama Administration began talks with Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the current crisis, a media report said. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the US role in Syria's civil war, The Washington Post reported.

The arms shipments are limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked, it said adding the US is also shipping new types of nonlethal gear to rebels.

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