Rebel leader says deal a ‘blow’ to uprising
Opposition general says deal will allow Assad escape punishment for poison gas attack
Free Syrian Army fighters sit at their guard post in the eastern Hama countryside. Photograph: Molhem Barakat/Reuters
The head of the opposition Syrian Supreme Military Council has said today’s US-Russian agreement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons was a blow to the two-and-a-half-year uprising to remove president Bashar al-Assad from power.
General Selim Idris said the deal would allow Dr Assad to escape being held accountable for killing hundreds of civilians in a poison gas attack on Damascus on August 21st. Dr Assad has denied responsibility for the attack.
Gen Idris said Dr Assad’s forces had started moving some of their chemical weapons to Lebanon and Iraq in the last few days to evade a possible UN inspection. The assertion could not be immediately verified.
“We have told our friends that the regime has begun moving a part of its chemical weapons arsenal to Lebanon and Iraq. We told them do not be fooled,” Gen Idris told reporters in Istanbul.
“All of this initiative does not interest us. Russia is a partner with the regime in killing the Syrian people. A crime against humanity has been committed and there is not any mention of accountability.”
Asked if rebel brigades would facilitate the work of any United Nations weapons inspectors, Dr Idris said: “This is very complicated ... If investigators come, we will facilitate the mission. In the regions under our control there are no chemical weapons. I don’t know if this will just mean that investigators will pass through the regions that are under rebel control. We are ready.”
But another military council official, Qassim Saadeddine, said: “Let the Kerry-Lavrov plan go to hell. We reject it and we will not protect the inspectors or let them enter Syria. ”