Inspectors report progress over Syria chemical weapons
DAMASCUS (AFP) - International inspectors were on Friday gearing up to disable the chemical weapons programme in war-hit Syria after reporting "encouraging" progress in a day of meetings with regime officials.
The Syrian regime and its armed opponents have both been accused of carrying out numerous atrocities in the 30-month conflict, which began as a popular uprising and has since snowballed into a full-blown war that has killed 115,000.
In a television interview, President Bashar al-Assad again denied having perpetrated August 21 chemical attacks on the outskirts of Damascus that killed hundreds and prompted Washington to threaten military action.
Syria's chemical arsenal - to be destroyed under a UN resolution - were in the hands of "special forces" who were the only ones capable of using them, Assad said.