September 17, 2013

Russia opposes use of force in U.N. resolution on Syria 

By Albert Aji and Bassem Mroue / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the Capitol for a closed-door briefing on Syria with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Tuesday.

The Associated Press

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SNC president Ahmad al-Jarba said the U.N. resolution should force the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons and also stop "the regime's war machine by banning the use of its air force, missiles and artillery."

The Syrian Foreign Ministry slammed the U.S., Britain and France for demanding that Assad step down, denouncing "their frantic quest to impose their will" on Syria.

"Assad is the legitimate president chosen by the Syrian people and will remain so as long as the Syrian people want this," the statement said.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov traveled to Damascus to meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency said Ryabkov would discuss the plan to dismantle chemical weapons.

Fighting in the civil war raged on, with a car bomb wounding more than a dozen people in northern Syria at a border crossing with Turkey.

The blast at the Bab al-Hawa frontier wounded 19 people, according to activist Ahmad al-Khatib in Idlib. Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said 15 were wounded.

In February, a car bomb at the border post killed 14 and two car bombs in May on the Turkish side killed 43.

Syria accused Turkey of escalating tensions by shooting down a Syrian military helicopter Monday. The military said the helicopter was monitoring cross-border infiltration of rebels when it "mistakenly" entered Turkish airspace.

Turkey's Deputy Prime Pinister Bulent Arinc said the aircraft was downed by a fighter jet after it ignored repeated warnings to leave Turkish airspace.

South of Damascus, Syrian government troops backed by Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah captured parts of the town of Chebaa, the Observatory said. Chebaa is also close to the Sayida Zeinab shrine that is sacred to Shiites.

Syrian troops shelled rebel-held areas and sent reinforcements to the southern region of Quneitra near Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Observatory said.

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