Video: Insurgents from Liwa al-Tawhid Take Regime Checkpoint in Idlib Province



*Kerry to Assad: Hand Over Chemical Weapons Within Week to Avoid Attack
*Syrian FM In Moscow: U.S. Strike On Syria Would Derail “Geneva 2”
*Russian FM Lavrov: Russia Rejects Political “Deal” Over Syria
* Moscow Calls On Syria To Transfer Chemical Weapons To International Supervision.


*Massive Regime Bombardment Of Muadamiyyah Ash Sham In West Ghouta, Near Damascus
*Insurgents Claim Capture of Maaloula, Vow To Protect Churches & Homes
*Regime Continues Airstrikes, Shelling On Jabal Alarbaeen, Near Ariha In Idlib Province

Video: Insurgents from Liwa al-Tawhid Take Regime Checkpoint in Idlib Province

Russian Journalist Detained In Damascus Airport Over His Reports On The Conflict

Russian weekly Argumenty i Fakty (AiF) reports that one of their investigative journalists, Georgy Zotov, has been detained at the airport in Damascus and refused entry to Syria.

The paper quotes the Syrian Information Ministry as saying that the Assad regime was dissatisfied with Zotov’s publications and his communication with the Syrian opposition.

Zotov told AiF that initially, he was taken to an office for detainees and held there until late at night, with the authorities refusing him water to drink. After an appeal to the Russian Embassy in Syria and the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zotov was released from the office but the authorities said he will only be deported in a week, and until then will have to remain inside the airport.

Damascus “Welcomes Russia’s Initiative On Chemical Weapons”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Muallem has responded positively to a proposal by his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, regarding the possibility of transferring Syria’s chemical weapons stocks to international supervision.

RIA Novosti quotes Al Muallem — currently in Moscow for talks with Lavrov — as saying:

During talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he launched an initiative related to chemical weapons. I listened carefully to his statement. In regard to that, I declare that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, on the basis that the Syrian leadership cares about the lives of our citizens and the security in our country.

We are also confident in the wisdom of the Russian government, which is trying to prevent American aggression against our people.

Moscow Calls On Syria To Transfer Chemical Weapons To International Supervision

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday called on the Assad regime to transfer its chemical weapons to international supervision to avoid a U.S. military strike, RIA Novosti reports.

“If by establishing international control over chemical weapons [in Syria] allows a strike to be avoided, then we will immediately work with Damascus,” – Lavrov said, according to RIA.

Interfax has a slightly different version of the quote, reporting that Lavrov began by noting that “We don’t know if Damascus will agree to this or not” regarding the matter of chemical weapons stocks being transferred to international control.

RIA goes on to quote Lavrov as saying:

“We call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on a statement regarding the storage of chemical weapons under international supervision, but also their subsequent destruction, as well as regarding [Syria’s] full accession to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

Lavrov added that Russia had already submitted a proposal to this affect to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Muallem, who is currently in Moscow for talks, and that the Russian Foreign Ministry “look[ed] forward to a speedy and hopefully positive response.”

So far, Moscow has maintained the line that the Assad regime was not responsible for the August 21 attacks, and that that U.S. needed to provide incontrovertible proof of Damascus’s culpability.

This move seems to indicate that Moscow may not be sure that this line will hold, it is trying a new gambit to avoid a strike. Taking advantage of the presence of Al Muallem in Moscow, it is calling John Kerry’s bluff — if it is a bluff — that intervention will be suspended if Syria gives up its chemical weapons. For this tactic to work, however, Damascus has to agree to do its part, admitting again that it holds chemical weapons, revealing the extent of those stocks, and admitting that is willing to renounce them.

Video: Assad on US TV “Expect Every Action in Retaliation”

US channel CBS has posted extracts from an interview with President Assad, to be broadcast in full on Monday night on the Public Broadcasting Service.

“Expect Every Action” in retaliation if the US strikes:

“US Does Not Have Single Shred of Evidence” about the August 21 chemical weapons attacks — “This is a War That is Going to Support Al Qa’eda and Those Groups Who Killed Americans on September 11”

US State Department Clarifies Kerry Chemical Weapons Offer to Assad

The US State Department has clarified that Secretary oF State John Kerry’s offer to President Assad — hand over chemical weapons within a week to avoid attack — was made for effect, rather than expectation of a deal:

Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used.

His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.

Kerry to Assad: Hand Over Chemical Weapons Within Week to Avoid Attack

Speaking alongside British Foreign Minister William Hague in London on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry made an offer: if President Assad hands over his entire stock of chemical weapons within the next week, then there will be no military attack.

Kerry said he had no expectation that the Syrian leader would comply.

The Secretary of State declared that there was no doubt that Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks near Damascus on August 21, as the weaponry “was controlled in a very tight manner by the Assad regime…Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher al-Assad, and a general are the three people that have the control over the movement and use of chemical weapons”.

Kerry insisted, “We are aware of that so we have no issue here about responsibility. They have a very threatening level of stocks remaining.”

The Secretary of State said Washington was planning an “unbelievably sml” attack on Syria:

We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing –– unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.

Video: Regime Soldiers Defect In Harasta, Damascus Suburbs

Footage dated Saturday September 7 claims to show two regime soldiers defecting to the Free Syrian Army in Harasta in the Damascus suburbs, after an FSA insurgent lays down his arms to negotiate with them. The incident happened after a three-hour standoff between the regime soldiers and insurgents from the Liwa Fateh Ash- Sham.

Map Showing Monday’s Regime Attacks In Damascus Suburbs

This map shows the locations and types of regime offensives on Monday in the Damascus suburbs.

Video: Regime Continue Airstrikes On Jabal Alarbaeen, Near Ariha

Although regime forces succeeded last week to recapture the strategic town of Ariha on the Aleppo highway, forces loyal to President Assad have still not managed to gain control over the full length of the road, making it hard —if not impossible — for regime supply convoys to pass through. In addition, insurgent forces continue to battle the regime around Ariha. As a result, the regime on Monday continues its tactic of heavy airstrikes on the area around Ariha:

Videos: Massive Regime Bombardment Of Muadamiyyah Ash Sham

The Assad regime on Monday has launched an even more ferocious bombardment of Muadamiyyah Ash Sham, the West Ghouta town hit by one of the August 21 chemical weapons attacks.

Huge plumes of smoke rising from the town following airstrikes on Monday morning:

A rocket bombardment hits the town:

Syrian FM: U.S. Strike On Syria Would Derail “Geneva 2”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Monday that a U.S. military strike on Syria would derail efforts to convene the “Geneva 2” peace conference, adding that Damascus was ready to take part without preconditions.

“We have repeatedly reaffirmed our readiness to participate in the “Geneva 2” conference without any preconditions. And up until this point we are ready [to do so]. But I do not know what would happen after the American aggression. Perhaps the rocket arrives and picks this conference, “- said the head of the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday at the start of negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow

Lavrov: Russia Rejects Political “Deal” Over Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Moscow rejects any political “deal” from its side over Syria.

Responding to a question at a Moscow press conference after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem as to whether there had been a “deal” between the U.S. and Syria with Russia mediating, Lavrov said:

“There can be no deals at the expense of the Syrian people in terms of Russia’s policy. So matters will continue.”

Video: Insurgents Claim Capture of Maaloula, Vow To Protect Churches & Homes

Footage has been posted of insurgents claiming the occupation of the historic town of Maaloula, 56 kilometers (about 35 miles) northeast of Damascus.

Opposition fighters briefly entered Maaloula, a site of ancient Christianity, on Thursday before withdrawing as the regime shelled the area. They moved again into the center on Sunday:

Italian Journalist, Belgian Teacher Freed After 5 Months

Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and Belgian teacher and writer Pierre Piccinin da Prata have been freed, five months after they were kidnapped.

Quirico, a veteran reporter for La Stampa, entered Syria on April 6 but disappeared four days later as he was travelling with Piccinin da Prata.

It is unknown who kidnapped the two men.


The Local Coordination Committees in Syria claim that 73 people were killed on Sunday, including 21 in Damascus and its suburbs, and 16 in Idlib Province.

The Violations Documentation Center put the number of dead at 72,554 since the conflict began in March 2011, an increase of 100 from Sunday. Of the dead, 54,666 are civilians, a rise of 51 from yesterday.

Monday Summary

SUMMARY: At one point on Sunday, the propaganda battle between Syria and the US intersected, as American Secretary of State John Kerry’s international mission to gather support for military intervention met news of President Assad’s interview with a US TV network.

Kerry was in Paris as Arab League foreign ministers held discussions. He claimed after the meeting, “”All of us agree, not one dissenter, that Assad’s deplorable use of chemical weapons… crosses an international global red line.”

There was a shortage of information about actual decisions, however. Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said the Arab countries were studying what the United Nations can do to protect the Syrian people.

“We will have a joint statement regarding Syria,” Attiyah said.

Kerry asserted that Saudi Arabia “have supported the strike and they have supported taking action”.

The Secretary of State continues his tour for intervention today, meeting British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London.

Meanwhile, President Assad was appealing to the US people — on the eve of a Congressional vote on intervention — in an interview to be aired Monday. He denied that he had anything to do with the use of chemical weapons and said there would be “some kind of retaliation if a strike was made”.