Russia has said that the Syrian government will this month ship abroad a large tranche of its chemical weapons to be destroyed. Moscow has also said that Damascus will attend a new round of peace talks next week.
The Russian assurances are being seen as an attempt to ease Western concerns about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s commitment to abandoning his chemical arsenal – after the removal process fell behind schedule.
The Russian government has hosted Ahmed Jarba, leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a meeting with Jarba “We urge our European and American partners, the countries in the region, to choose the same approach. We are convinced they should work with all sides in the Syrian conflict without exception – I mean of course political sides, and not terrorist groups.”
Despite international efforts to bring together Syria’s warring sides, violence continues to rage.
Videos uploaded to the Internet by anti-Assad activists purport to show the aftermath of barrel bomb attacks in the city of Aleppo. Residents can be seen searching through the rubble of destroyed buildings, said to be in the district of Hanano.