MOSCOW — Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday that Russia is ready to send military observers to Syria to ensure security for efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, but said Russia is not considering sending a full military contingent.
Under a US-Russian plan, Syria is to give up its chemical weapons. Security is one of the plan’s major challenges, including how to prevent theft of the weapons.
Lavrov says Russia has proposed that there be an international presence on the perimeter of all areas where chemical weapons experts will work in Syria.
In comments reported by Russian news agencies on Sunday, Lavrov said, “We are ready to share our servicemen and military police to participate in these forces,” but “it seems to me that military observers will be sufficient.”
Also on Sunday, Syria’s state agency said a mortar round landed in the Russian Embassy compound in Damascus, but has not caused any casualties.
Quoting an “unidentified source” at the embassy, SANA says “business is usual” at the diplomatic mission following Sunday’s mid-afternoon attack.
An activist group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, has confirmed that the round exploded inside the embassy, and said that there was no immediate report of casualties.
The embassy is situated in the upscale Mazraa district, which also houses several Syrian security institutions, a soccer stadium and nightclubs.
The Observatory said the Russian Embassy was the target of several previous failed rocket attacks by rebels fighting to unseat Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.