Man walks past debris after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Assad in Aleppo (Reuters)
Russia, which played a crucial part in averting a US-led attack on Syria, will now "safeguard" the chemcial weapons to be shunted out of the strife-torn country, a senior Iranian offficial has said.
"At present, officials speak of transferring the (Syrian chemical) weapons to Russia and the Russian officials have announced that they will safeguard them," Iran's semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior adviser to the Iranian parliament speaker as saying.
Earlier, Syria had kept its deadline to transfer complete information about its chemical weapons to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as part of a deal brokered by Moscow to prevent a US strike on Damascus.
Hossein Sheikholesla, a senior adviser to the Speaker, also said the UN-backed weapons watchdog will foot the bill for handling the arsenal, pointing out that Syria is a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
The OPCW confirmed that "it has received the expected disclosure from the Syrian government regarding its chemical weapons programme" and that the Technical Secretariat was reviewing the information received.
The handover of Syria's chemical arsenal - amounting to about 1,000 tonnes of mustard gas, VX and sarin - was the key detail of the US-Russia agreement that effected a last-minute pullback of a US-led military strike on Syria after the 21 August sarin gas attack on a rebel stronghold snowballed into an international crisis.
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