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Updated: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 20:38:18 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Syria chemical arms destruction plan approved by UN Security Council



Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Venezuelan state television TeleSUR in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 26, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters SANA/Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Venezuelan state television TeleSUR in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 26, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters SANA/Reuters

The unanimous vote by the 15-member Security Council ended weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States. 

The plan was based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier this month following an Aug. 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of people.

The vote on Friday night marked a major breakthrough in the paralysis that has gripped the council since the Syrian uprising began. Russia and China previously vetoed three Western-backed resolutions pressuring the Assad regime to end the violence. 

For the first time, the council endorsed the roadmap for a political transition in Syria adopted by key nations in June 2012 and called for an international conference to be convened "as soon as possible" to implement it. 

Chemical weapons watchdog

The risks inspectors will face were underscored when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque north of Damascus, killing at least 30 people, the latest victims of a civil war which has claimed more than 100,000 lives and driven another 7 million — around a third of the country's pre-war population — from their homes since March 2011.

Law experts, meanwhile, said discussions were underway to set up a war crimes tribunal for Syria to punish perpetrators from all sides of atrocities.

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