Sep 19 2013, 10:42am CDT | by IANS
Damascus/Moscow, Sep 19 — The Syrian foreign ministry Thursday accused the US and its Western allies of supporting the Al Qaida in Syria as 19 people were killed in blasts that ripped through two buses in the strife-torn country.
In a letter addressed to the UN, the ministry alleged that the US was funding and arming the Al Qaida-linked groups in Syria against the administration of President Bashar al-Assad, Xinhua reported citing state-run TV.
The ministry complained that "Washington, France, Britain, Turkey, and some other countries' funding and arming the terrorists in Syria constitute a flagrant violations (sic) to principles of the international law and the UN Security Council's laws pertaining combating terrorism".
Relations between Washington and Damascus are at the lowest since the eruption of crisis in Syria as Washington projected itself as an advocate of the exiled opposition, repeatedly asking President Assad to resign.
The relations got further icy when Washington accused Damascus of using the nerve agent, sarin, in battles against the rebels, particularly Aug 21 in the countryside of Damascus.
Damascus has rejected the accusations.
Meanwhile, at least 19 people were killed and four others were wounded Thursday when blasts ripped through two buses in the central Syrian province of Homs.
The explosive devices, planted on the road between the towns of Jaburin and Akrad al-Dafnieh in the countryside of Homs, went off Thursday morning, burning two buses and a car, according pro-government media.
The Syrian troops have been advancing in Homs in the past couple of months, infuriating the West-backed rebels who have lost several key positions in the province.
In another important development, President Assad has stressed his country's commitment to the chemical weapons treaty as part of a broader deal between Russia and the US to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
In an interview with Fox News of the US, Assad reiterated Syria's abidance by the chemical weapons treaty, which his administration joined last week, in terms of its conditions that prohibit manufacturing, stockpiling and distributing chemical weapons.
He said, according to the estimates he received, destroying the stockpiles would cost $1 billion and would take roughly a year.
Also, he noted that Damascus's abidance by the treaty had nothing to do with the threats of the US administration.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov Thursday said his country was ready to hand over evidence of chemical weapons use by Syria's "irreconcilable opposition" and it might be done even before the end of the day, ITAR-TASS reported.
"We hope to do it as promptly as possible, either tonight or tomorrow," Bodganov said.
He said the Syrian government was preparing data on its chemical weapons that would be submitted to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Russian deputy minister said it was "important to wait for the experts to publish the assessments that should rely first and foremost on the information the Syrian side is preparing for transmission to The Hague so that its data would lay the groundwork for estimates and further practical steps by the OPCW".
He said Russia was ready to organise in Moscow contacts between representatives of different Syrian opposition groups.
"We are ready to organise contacts not only with the opposition, but also between the opposition groups, maybe in Moscow," Bogdanov, who is also the Russian president's envoy to the Middle East told TASS.
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