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    Syria will give its chemical weapons away, Bashar al-Assad tells Fox News

    Syria would stand by an agreement to dispose of its chemical weapons and give them to whatever nation was willing to take them, the country's president said on Wednesday night in a TV interview.

    Bashar al-Assad said his government was bound to get rid of its weapons but maintained that it was not responsible for deadly gas attacks that killed hundreds outside Damascus on 21 August.

    In an interview on the Fox News channel, the Syrian president said the destruction of the country's chemical weapons would take about a year, and would cost $1bn (£600m).

    "I think it is a very complicated technically and it needs a lot of money. Some estimated about a billion for the Syrian stockpile," he said.

    Asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical weapons to the US government, Assad said: "It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don't they do it?"

    Assad also added that he had never spoken to Barack Obama. When asked whether he was interested in speaking to the US president, one of his harshest critics, he said: "That depends on the content. It is not a chat."

    The interview was conducted in Damascus by former Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Fox News contributor, and Fox News channel senior correspondent Greg Palkot.

    Meanwhile in Syria the violence continued as a rebel group affiliated with al-Qaida overran a Syrian town near the border with Turkey after fighting broke out with units of the Arab – and Western-backed Free Syrian Army, opposition activists said.

    Read more at The Guardian

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    Guest Tuesday, 11 August 2020