Syria: Kremlin Could drop support for Assad

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a top Kremlin official as saying the government could drop its support for Bashar Assad if the Syrian president reneges on his commitments to give up chemical weapons.

Interfax yesterday quoted Sergei Ivanov, President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, as saying Russia’s position “could change” if it was “certain that Assad is cheating” on giving up chemical weapons. Mr Ivanov emphasised that he was speaking “theoretically and hypothetically”.

Meanwhile, Syria has disclosed the information on its chemical weapons programme that was expected under an agreed deadline, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

The disclosure is a crucial stage in the process that should lead to the weapons’ destruction. Syria is believed to possess about 1,000 tonnes of toxins, and has agreed to destroy them under a joint Russian-US proposal designed to avert a US military strike on Syria.

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