Nation & World News

Assad Regime Hails Chemical Weapons Deal As ‘Victory’ For Syria

By Bill Chappell on September 15th, 2013

One day after the United States and Russia announced a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, the first official reaction has emerged from the Syrian regime, which calls it a “victory.” Syria’s rebels are criticizing the plan, saying it doesn’t punish President Bashar Assad.

The plan, which details the extent of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, calls for the weapons’ destruction by the middle of next year. As we reported Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered the deal in Geneva with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said that “there can be no games” to avoid full compliance.

“We welcome these agreements,” Syrian National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar tells Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “On the one hand, they will help Syrians come out of the crisis, and on the other hand, they prevented the war against Syria by having removed a pretext for those who wanted to unleash it [war].”

Crediting the work of Russia’s leaders, Haidar said, “This is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends.”

Before that statement came out Sunday, Syria’s state news agency, SANA, had restricted itself to announcing the U.S.-Russia agreement and noting the lack of an overt military threat.

A central figure in Syria’s rebellion spoke out against the U.S-Russia plan Saturday. The rebels, who have been trying to oust Assad for more than two years, had been calling for air strikes against the Syrian government.

“Rebel Gen. Salim Idriss stated his objections soon after the Geneva announcement,” NPR’s Deborah Amos reports for our Newscast unit. “He heads the Supreme Military Council, rebels backed by the West and Gulf Arab states. He said the agreement, which includes U.N. inspectors on the ground by November, allows the Syrian president to escape responsibility for killing hundreds of civilians in an alleged gas attack in August.”

“What about the murderer Bashar who gave the order? Should we forget him?” Idriss said at a news conference in Istanbul. “We feel let down by the international community. We don’t have any hope.”

Rebels have also complained that Syria has been moving its chemical weapons around, perhaps even into neighboring countries, to frustrate attempts to catalog and destroy the arsenal.

In Israel, where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to discuss the deal, the U.S.-Russia plan met with muted enthusiasm.

“We hope the understandings bear fruit. Those understandings will be judged by the results,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. President Shimon Peres said that “a disarmament agreement backed up by military threat should serve as a lesson to Iranian leaders.”

The Israeli leadership addressed the question of Syria during Sunday’s commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Usain Bolt of Jamaica is hit by a cameraman on a Segway while celebrating his win in the 200-meter final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at National Stadium in Beijing.

Usain Bolt Is Knocked Over By Segway-Riding Cameraman After Winning Gold

The incident happened at the World Athletics Championships, where a highly anticipated match-up had pitted the Jamaican against America’s Justin Gatlin.


James Yates (left) and William Smith Jr. walk to the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., on Aug. 13 hoping to get a marriage license. They were turned away for a third time Thursday morning.

Kentucky Clerk’s Office Continues To Refuse Marriage Licenses

A same-sex couple was denied a license Thursday morning, even after a federal appeals court denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ bid to refuse to issue marriage licenses for religious reasons.


Ancient Tomb In Spain Destroyed And Replaced With A Picnic Table

In a case of mistaken identity, builders in the Galicia region confused a Neolithic tomb for a broken stone table and replaced it with a new concrete one.


A test last November of the intermediate range ballistic missile Shaheen 1A (Hatf IV) being launched from an undisclosed location in Pakistan in a photo supplied by the Pakistani military. The missile is said to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Report: In A Decade (Or Sooner), Pakistan Could Be No. 3 Nuclear Power

Two think tanks estimate that Islamabad could have 350 warheads in the next several years as it outpaces rival India and several other nations in production.


A truck in which dozens of dead refugees were found along autobahn A4 between Parndorf and Neusiedl, Austria, on Thursday.

At Least 20 Dead Migrants Found Crammed In Truck In Austria

Police said it was unclear how many people were in the vehicle, which was found along Austria’s A4 autobahn near the border with Hungary and Slovakia.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments