News / Middle East

Syrian Rebels Dismiss Chemical Weapons Framework

Head of Free Syrian Army Selim Idriss arrives at the Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, April 20, 2013.
Head of Free Syrian Army Selim Idriss arrives at the Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul, April 20, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
The head of the opposition Free Syrian Army says that a Russian-brokered plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons will not solve the two-and-a-half-year-old conflict in his country. The rebel commander spoke to journalists Saturday in Istanbul, as heavy fighting continued in the Damascus suburbs. 

Syrian government troops pounded the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of Barzeh, Madhamiya and Joubar with field artillery and from the air. The ongoing government offensive coincided with U.S.-Russian negotiations in Geneva that produced a framework Saturday for dismantling Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons.

In Istanbul, rebel military commander General Selim Idriss condemned the plan, arguing that Russia was not a neutral party.

He says the opposition categorically rejects the proposal, because it has no faith in the Assad regime or in Russia, which helps the regime to kill Syrians. He said the initiative is an attempt to gain time and find an exit for the [Assad] regime. He adds that the initiative has nothing in it for the opposition, which will continue to fight.

Meanwhile, Syria's government news channel al-Ikhbariya accused neighboring Turkey of supplying the rebels with chemical weapons. The TV broadcast asked if Washington is planning to “punish its ally Turkey” as a part of the chemical weapons plan. It also showed what it claimed were bags of chemicals with the label “made in Saudi Arabia.”

Key points of US-Russian proposal for eliminating Syria's chemical weapons

  • A full declaration from Syria of chemical weapons storage and production sites in one week
  • Initial on-site inspections of sites by November
  • Destruction of chemical mixing, production and filling equipment by November
  • Elimination or removal of chemical weapons material and equipment by mid-2014
  • Syrian violations could prompt U.N. Security Council action
Rebel commander General Idriss, however, insisted his forces “have no chemical weapons on territory controlled by the Free Syrian Army,” adding they would “not hinder the work of U.N. monitors” if they wished to enter rebel-held territory as part of their mission.

Both General Idriss and other opposition figures are also accusing the Syrian government of covertly moving parts of its chemical weapons stockpile to neighboring Lebanon and Iraq. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Assad regime had dispersed that stockpile to 50 sites across the country.

Opposition sources claimed that government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the southern city of Daraa to prevent them from advancing.  Government planes also reportedly bombed rebel positions in the northern town of Saraqeb, near Idlib, Saturday.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
September 15, 2013 11:39 AM
President Obama handled the Assad problem so poorly, President Putin of Russia has to bail out Obama to save his face internationally. But the Americans cannot bail out the Obama for no concrete policy towards the dictatorship of Assad and the agony of the people of Syria. Obama's wave of red lines against Assad keep on changing. His promises to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) never substantiated. His pronouncements and announcements to the rest of the world keep on changing. Obama lost the trust of the Americans, the FSA and the rest of the free world. What is the difference between killing of 1000 people by chemical weapons when compared to more than 110,000 of Syrians killed, two million of Syrians becoming refuges and 4 four million of Syrians becoming internally displaced persons (IDP) inside Syria with the total destruction of homes and infrastructure of the country by bombing, missile and tank attacks against people of the country? Assad has used weapons of mass destruction whether it is chemical weapons, or bombing, missile attacks and tanks against the people of Syria than any dictator in the 21st century and Obama is the most confused and mistrusted US president in the 21st century.


by: ali baba from: new york
September 14, 2013 8:11 PM
who care about the opinion of rebel leader. ? it is a middle east deception. he can solve the problem without conflict but he choose to fight with the name of Allah. double standard ,lies and never straight up his motive. .

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
September 15, 2013 6:35 PM
Bashar el Assad is less evil than the rebel. if Assad is wiped from the map who is going to replace him? this gang which has connection to terrorist organization. the rebel will not put food on the table of starving Syria. gulf countries are not give enough aid to keep the country alive. the rebel are hungry of power and has no respect for human being .the conclusion Syria will be converted to anarchy /

In Response

by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
September 15, 2013 1:01 PM
Agree with you. We should not be supporting these gangs without knowing who is who in the rebels. Our military and the CIA never learns. One would think afer the support to the Talibans, the raise of Bin Ladin, we would have learned. Sadly, we the average Joes seems to realize this more than our politicians and the intelligence agencies. It makes one wonder what drives our intelligence agencies.

In Response

by: Anonymous
September 15, 2013 9:46 AM
Who cares about the opinion of the rebel leader? Majority of Syria.
It is a big deal. He can not solve the problem of assad bombing all over Syria, without disabling him. This has been proven since 2.5 yrs ago. Praise to the Syrian people and the FSA. For the FSA will have another battle on their hand after they wipe assad off the map, they will have to defend their country from al qaeda.

The only reason assad is not sitting in the hague on criminal charges such as mass murder, genocide, destruction is because Putin and China seem to think it is okay for a tyrant to be doing these things.

Assad should be arrested and held FULLY accountable for his crimes. The crimes he commited were long before chemical weapons even came in to play. If proven he did that too, then the ICC must step in without any consent of Russia or China and "Go get theri man".


by: Anonymous
September 14, 2013 4:58 PM
Selim Idriss is 100% correct. He fights for the people of Syria and their safety. assad must go, and the world must put their thumb on him and assure him he is never to represent the Syrian people again. Murdering so many civilians and breaking so many crimes, within his so called nation is serious. He is not only a criminal but not owed any respect by anyone. What this is doing is bringing more hatred to assad and russian Putin everyday the war goes on. The people of Syria, ARE SYRIA. What the people of Syria want is what the people of Syria should get. They should not be muzzled by assad to try and keep himself in so called power. On the ground Syrians worry more about assads bombing runs, snipers, and tanks, than anything. He has killed so many Syrians all over the country from these acts. He most definately does not deserve any "Get out of jail" card.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid