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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Fresh Clashes in Syria After UN Agreement

by VOA News September 28, 2013

Syrian rebels say they have captured a border post near Jordan, following several days fierce of clashes with Syrian forces.

Rebels say they took full control of the Dara'a crossing on Saturday, a day after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate chemical weapons.

The vote late Friday by the 15-member council ended weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States.

It is based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier this month following a sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

The U.S.-Russia deal averted punitive U.S. military action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which Washington blamed for the August attack.

However, the plan has received a lukewarm response from Human Rights Watch.

In a Friday statement the group's U.N. director, Philippe Bolopion, said progress towards removing Syria's chemical weapons was an 'important step.' But, he said the resolution failed to 'ensure justice for the gassing of hundreds of children and many other grave crimes.'

Ahead of Friday's vote, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told VOA Syria would support the resolution 'as long as it is according to our commitment when we joined the agreement.'

He said the Syrian government is 'seriously committed to fulfill our obligations.'

U.S. President Barack Obama called the resolution a 'huge victory' for the international community. He said it is a 'legally binding' and 'verifiable' initiative that threatens consequences if Syria does not adhere to conditions.

The resolution calls for inspections within 30 days at all chemical weapons sites declared by Syria's government. International experts are supposed to begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal by Tuesday.

The resolution also requires Assad to give up his chemical weapons by mid-2014.

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