Russia Urges Syrian Rebels to Destroy Chemical Weapons – Lavrov

MOSCOW,  – Moscow insists that the Syrian opposition groups should also eliminate their chemical weapons stockpiles, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

Syria-2242512_small3 Russia Urges Syrian Rebels to Destroy Chemical Weapons – Lavrov

In the interview with Channel One, Lavrov said “when our western partners repeatedly say that only the regime has weapons and that’s why only the regime could have used them, and the opposition has no chemical weapons, they are cunning.”

The Russian foreign minister cited “Israeli reports” saying that the rebels had at least twice seized the districts where the chemical weapons were stored. He also said the rebels have their own laboratories where make chemical weapons.

Lavrov has stressed the need for “those who finance the rebel groups, including the extremists, to find the way to demand that they hand over those [weapons] that had been seized and are to be destroyed.”

Evidence given by witnesses and journalists showed that rebels acquired “some shells from abroad that they had never seen and had no idea of how to use them, and then finally they used them,” Lavrov said.

Mortar Shell Hits Russian Embassy in Damascus

MOSCOW,  – A mortar shell struck the Russian embassy in Damascus on Sunday injuring at least three, Russian officials said.

“About an hour ago a mortar shell fell on the territory of the embassy,” the embassy spokesman said, adding that it has continued its work.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement later on Sunday saying that at least three people working at the embassy received injuries, but their lives were out of danger.

Earlier reports on Sunday said citing embassy sources that two people were hurt by stones at the blast scene and they received medical assistance, while the embassy spokesman said that no one was injured in the incident.

An embassy source said the attack was “apparently an accident.” Another source told RIA Novosti the shell had left a 1-meter diameter hole.

Earlier this month, Russia’s embassy in Damascus was also hit by a mortar shell. No casualties were reported. Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack as a “barbaric act.”

In early June, five shells hit the Al-Adwi district of Damascus, where the Russian Embassy is located, killing a civilian and injuring a Syrian security officer. No embassy staff were hurt in the attack.