The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

September 30, 2013

Weapons experts kick off complex Syria mission

(Continued)

DAMASCUS, Syria —

The team will now draft its final report on its findings about the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, expected to be ready by the end of October, according to U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky in New York.

The U.N. resolution passed last week also endorsed a roadmap for a political transition in Syria adopted by key nations in June 2012, and called for an international conference to be convened "as soon as possible" to implement it.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem put a damper on those efforts, saying senior Damascus government officials would not sit down to talk with the Syrian National Coalition because it had supported the possibility of a U.S. strike.

Al-Moallem told the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV late Sunday that the group "is not popular in Syria and lost a lot among Syrians when it called on the U.S. to attack Syria militarily."

He also lashed out at the rebels when he addressed world leaders Monday at the United Nations General Assembly. He reiterated claims that his government is fighting a war mostly against al-Qaida-linked militants.

Extremists and foreign jihadis have joined the fight in Syria, and al-Qaida-linked rebels have proven to be some of the most effective among rebels fighting to topple the Assad regime. But they have increasingly clashed with more moderate fighters from the mainstream Free Syrian Army rebel group.

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