US credits Syria over chemical arms

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime deserves credit for complying with a chemical weapons deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

He was speaking after international monitors said the destruction of Syria’s stockpile had begun.

The mission was established under a UN resolution, which was passed after a deal between Russia and the US.

The resolution followed international outrage at a chemical weapons attack near Damascus in August.

“The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian co-operation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,” Mr Kerry said after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Indonesia.

“I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed.

“I think it’s a credit to the Assad regime, frankly. It’s a good beginning and we welcome a good beginning,” Mr Kerry added.