Syrian rebels blast Russian offer on chemical arms

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, Free Syrian Army fighters observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif, at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria. President Barack Obama said early on in the 2 1/2-year-old conflict that Assad lost the right to lead because of the brutal oppression of his people, most chillingly displayed in what Washington contends was an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas that killed hundreds of civilians. But it�s not clear who would replace Assad if he were to be driven from power, either as a result of U.S. punitive strikes for the suspected poison gas attacks or in eventual political transition talks with the Western-backed opposition. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, Free Syrian Army fighters observe the Syrian army forces base of Wadi al-Deif, at the front line of Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, Syria. President Barack Obama said early on in the 2 1/2-year-old conflict that Assad lost the right to lead because of the brutal oppression of his people, most chillingly displayed in what Washington contends was an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas that killed hundreds of civilians. But it�s not clear who would replace Assad if he were to be driven from power, either as a result of U.S. punitive strikes for the suspected poison gas attacks or in eventual political transition talks with the Western-backed opposition. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — 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 Aug. 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.

He says the FSA "categorically rejects the Russian initiative."

Idris' statement was broadcast on Thursday on pan-Arab satellite channels, hours ahead of talks in Geneva between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the Russian proposal.

Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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