Sept 15 (Reuters) - Here is a snapshot of Reuters news about the crisis in Syria:
* Syria’s government hailed as a “victory” a Russian-brokered deal that has averted U.S. strikes, while President Barack Obama defended a chemical weapons pact that the rebels fear has bolstered their enemy in the civil war.
* Responding to concerns, notably in Israel, that a display of American weakness toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could encourage his Iranian backers to develop nuclear weapons, Obama said Tehran’s nuclear program was a “far larger issue” for him than Assad’s toxins.
* U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Israel, responded to widespread doubts about the feasibility of the “the most far-reaching chemical weapons removal ever” by insisting the plan could work.
* The United States and Russia agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, averting the possibility of immediate U.S. military action against Assad’s government. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement after nearly three days of talks in Geneva.
* Obama welcomed a U.S.-Russian accord on aimed at getting control of Syrian chemical weapons and warned that if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.
* The deal over Syria’s chemical weapons will afford Assad months to “delay and deceive” while more die in that country’s war, said Republican senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham.
* A report by U.N. chemical weapons experts will likely confirm that poison gas was used in an Aug. 21 attack on Damascus suburbs that killed hundreds of people, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. The report was expected to be presented to Ban over the weekend, diplomats said.
“ They shouldn’t draw a lesson, that we haven’t struck, to think we won’t strike Iran,” Obama told ABC television, disclosing he had exchanged letters with Iran’s new president. “On the other hand, what they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically.”
“We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international affairs, because that affects all other issues, whether Iran or North Korea or others,” Kerry said after talks in Israel Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There’s no diminution of options.” - Kerry
“There (is) nothing said about the use of force and not about any automatic sanctions.” - Lavrov.
“Let the Kerry-Lavrov plan go to hell. We reject it and we will not protect the inspectors or let them enter Syria.” - Qassim Saadeddine, an official of the opposition Syrian Supreme Military Council.
U.N. experts studying chemical weapons use in Syria were expected to present their findings this weekend to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.