Syrian Rebels Reject Russia’s Chemical Weapon Proposal

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U.N. officials say approximately 5,000 people a month are being killed in Syria and the flight of refugees is the worst since the 1994 Rwanda genocide. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

U.N. officials say approximately 5,000 people a month are being killed in Syria and the flight of refugees is the worst since the 1994 Rwanda genocide. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – An umbrella opposition group fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad has rejected Russia’s proposal which would see the regime hand over control of the chemical weapons.

The general of the U.S. backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) posted a video online late Wednesday.  According to CBS News, Gen. Salim Idriss said that he and his fellow rebel commanders “announce our definitive rejection of the Russian initiative to place chemical weapons under international custody.”

In the video, Idriss is calling for justice instead.

“We ask that the international community not be content with withdrawing chemical weapons, which are a criminal instrument, but to hold the perpetrator accountable and prosecute him at the International Criminal Court,” Idriss continued in the video. 

Idriss is blaming Assad for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs.  The Obama administration says more than 1,400 people were killed in the attack.

The Russian initiative was announced Monday and quickly agreed to by Assad’s government.  The U.S., France and Israel have remained skeptical that the Syrian government will follow through and also worried about the continuous fighting between government forces and rebels.

According to France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. a United Nations report from a team of inspectors about the attack in the eastern Ghouta suburbs is likely to be published Monday.

A team of 20 inspectors collected evidence and interviewed people in the area for three days hoping to determine exactly which chemical agents were used.  It is unsure who carried out the attack.

“Removing the criminal tools is one matter and holding the criminal accountable is another,” Idriss stated.

He wants the U.S. and other nations to provide more weapons to his rebel fighters.

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