President Bashar al-Assad has signed a decree stating that Syria will accede to international law on chemical weapons, the United Nations said.
In a statement on Thursday, the spokesman for the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said: “The secretary general has today received a letter from the government of Syria, informing him that President Assad has signed the legislative decree providing for the accession of Syria to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction of 1992.
The statement comes after Assad said in an interview with a Russian television channel that he was ready to sign up to the law. Excerpts of the interview with Rossiya-24 were released to state news agencies but it has yet to be broadcast.
“Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision,” Interfax quoted Assad as saying.
Assad denied his regime was behind an August 21 poison gas attack in Damascus, saying that other countries supplied chemical weapons to “terrorists”
Rossiya 24 did not give any further details of the content of the interview, which it said would be broadcast in full “soon”.
Against this backdrop of diplomatic developments, violence has raged on in different parts of Syria.
A surge of clashes in the country’;s oil-producing northeast has killed dozens of rebels and Kurdish fighters in the past two days, activists said on Thursday.
Fighters from Syria’;s ethnic Kurdish minority – roughly 10 percent of the 23-million-strong population – have carved out an increasingly autonomous region near the frontiers with Iraq and Turkey.
Elsewhere, air force jets bombed one of the main hospitals serving rebel-held territory in the north, according to activists and video footage.
Eleven civilians, including two doctors, were killed in the strike against the hospital on Wednesday in the town of al-Bab, 30km northeast of Aleppo city, the opposition Aleppo Media Centre said on Thursday.
Video footage posted on YouTube showed the limp body of a young child being carried out of the hospital by a man.
The Aleppo Media Centre said that the emergency and radiology departments were destroyed in the attack.
The government has not commented on the strike but state news agency SANA said on Thursday that the army had killed 14 “terrorists” – a term it uses for rebels – north of al-Bab in an operation on a convoy.