DAMASCUS, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Tens of Syrians staged a sit-in Tuesday before the Syrian Cabinet building in the capital Damascus to express their support to the recent Russian initiative regarding stripping Syria of its chemical arsenal.
"As Syrian people, we welcome the international decision to place the chemical weapon under (international) observation, because since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, we have been against the use of chemical weapons," Majdoline, a Syrian woman, told Xinhua during the sit-in.
Last week, Russia proposed an initiative to strip Syria of its chemical weapons, in the hope of stripping Washington of its pretext to unleash a military strike against Syria over allegations that the government troops gassed civilians in the countryside of Damascus on Aug. 21.
The administration of President Bashar al-Assad denied the accusation, turning the finger against the rebels, saying they staged a false flag operation to frame the government.
Yet, the last-minute proposition by Russia was hailed by Damascus, which said it would surrender its chemical stock not because of fears of a possible U.S. strike, but of its confidence in "Russia's wisdom."
Samir Batrony, a Syrian lawyer, who was also at sit-in, said " the aggression is demolishing, the conspiracy is falling apart, and Syria will not succumb."
Other participants hoisted the Syrian flag along with posters of President Assad and the late Egyptian leader, Jamal Abdul- Nasser, the symbol of pan-Arabism in the Arab world.
The sit-in came a day after the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon briefed the Security Council in a closed-door meeting about the report from a fact-finding group looking into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21.
The report confirmed that chemical weapons were used in Ghouta, Syria, without assigning blame on a certain party.
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TOKYO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Japan on Tuesday condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria after a UN report confirmed that sarin gas has been used in an attack in August near the Syrian capital Damascus.
Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a press conference here that Tokyo strongly condemns the use of chemical weapon in the Mideast country, saying it will closely watch developments at the United Nations and responses by the Syrian government on the U. S.-Russian agreement on Syria's chemical weapons. Full story
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Monday criticized some Western countries for jumping to conclusions in favor of the Syrian opposition, saying all facts and questions " need to be addressed seriously and professionally."
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador, made the remarks while speaking to reporters after the release of a UN report that confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21. Britain, France and the United States claimed Monday that the latest UN findings supported their previous judgment that the Syrian government had used the chemical weapons in the conflict. Full story
UN: chemical weapons used in Ghouta, Syria, "on a relatively large scale"
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chemical weapons were used at Ghouta, Syria, on Aug. 21 "on a relatively large scale resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children," a UN report said Monday.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accompanying the report, Ake Sellstrom, the head of the mission that was responsible for investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, said there was evidence rockets and the nerve gas sarin were employed. Full story
News Analysis: UN report fuels debate on chemical weapons in Syria
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The highly anticipated UN report confirming the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21 killing hundreds of people is only five pages long but has unleashed uncountable words of argument.
The report itself was never intended to point fingers, only to determine if chemical weapons were used. Now the debate is in high pitch, with each side citing aspects of the report that buttresses their argument. The divide is classically East-West. Full story