Assad: Surrendering weapons because of Russia, not US threat

“Syria is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision because of Russia,” Assad said in the interview. “The U.S. threat did not influence the decision.” 

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Syria will now provide documents to the United Nations that are required for pursuing this plan, Assad reportedly told the TV network. 

President Obama in a national address Tuesday night said he had asked Congress to put off votes on striking Syria so a peaceful solution could be pursued. It did not appear Obama had the votes in the House and Senate to win authorization of a strike. 

At Russia's urging, Syria on Monday said it would give up its chemical weapons to international control. It was the first time it has publicly acknowledged its chemical weapons. 

Rossiya 24 is expected to broadcast the full interview with Assad later Thursday. Secretary of State Kerry is scheduled on Thursday to sit down with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva.