Syria opposition dismisses Russian proposal, calls for strikes

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s main opposition bloc is urging the West to strike Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime despite Russia’s initiative to have Damascus surrender its chemical weapons to international control.

The Syrian National Coalition dismisses the proposal as a maneuver to escape punishment. It has been cheering for international military action, hoping a blow would shift the bloody war of attrition between rebels and Assad’s forces, which has left more than 100,000 dead in more than 2 ½ years of fighting.

In a statement Tuesday, the coalition said Moscow’s proposal “aims to procrastinate and will lead to more death and destruction of the Syrian people.”

The group says, “A violation of international law should lead to an international retaliation that is proportional in size.” It adds that handing over the weapons isn’t enough to offset crimes against humanity.

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