UK & World News
Syria: West Seeks 'Precise Timetable' On Deal
France, Britain and the US are seeking a "strong and binding" UN resolution that will compel Syrian President Bashar al Assad to handover his chemical weapons to international control.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague is in Paris for fresh talks on Syria with French President Francois Hollande and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
All three want to see a "precise timetable" for the dismantling of weapons.
It comes after the US and Russia agreed a plan to secure and destroy Mr Assad's arsenal of chemical weapons.
Mr Hague is being briefed on the draft agreement hammered out by Mr Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during three days of talks in Geneva.
He described the deal as a "significant step forward" and said it should be followed by swift action to begin the transfer of the weapons - reportedly scattered at multiple locations around the country - into international control.
"The onus is now on the Assad regime to comply with this agreement in full. The international community, including Russia, must hold the regime to account," he said.
The agreed framework of the deal now has to be put into a UN Security Council resolution which will also contain the threat of consequences if Mr Assad fails to comply.
Britain, France and the US are pressing for it to contain the threat of military strikes, which the Russians and the Chinese oppose.
The deal requires Syria to submit a full inventory of its stockpiles by this Saturday, international inspectors to be on the ground by November and the weapons to be destroyed or removed from the country by mid-2014.
Mr Kerry has warned Syria that "the threat of force is real" if it does not destroy the weapons, adding: "We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international affairs."
The Syrian government has welcomed the agreement on chemical weapon disarmament as a "victory" for Damascus.
It comes as a report by UN chemical weapons inspectors sent to Syria to investigate an alleged gas attack is set to be revealed to a closed session of the Security Council.
The inspection team, led by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, was tasked with determining whether chemical weapons were used in the August 21 attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
The team will also establish which chemical agents were used, but will not make a judgement on who was responsible.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will brief the council on the findings, has already revealed he expects the report to provide "overwhelming" confirmation that chemical weapons were used.
Meanwhile, a British defence study found almost half of the forces fighting against Mr Assad's regime are jihadists or members of hardline Islamist groups.
The analysis by defence consultancy IHS Jane's, published in the Daily Telegraph, put the number of rebel forces at around 100,000.
It found around 10,000 are jihadists fighting for groups linked to al Qaeda, while others include up to 35,000 hardline Islamists.
More than 110,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since protests first began in March 2011.
In an open letter published in the Lancet medical journal, British doctors called for an end to attacks on medical facilities, personnel and patients, warning that the assaults were "making it nearly impossible for civilians to receive essential medical services", while makeshift clinics had become "fully fledged trauma centres struggling to cope with the injured and sick".
According to WHO, 37% of Syrian hospitals have been destroyed and a further 20% severely damaged.
Details of the inspectors' report will be published on the website of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.