Russia: Syria says chemical arsenal safeguarded

MOSCOW, July 25 (Reuters) - Moscow has received "firmassurances" from Damascus that its Syrian chemical arsenal is"fully safeguarded", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister GennadyGatilov told the state-owned Itar-Tass news agency.

"We have received firm assurances from Damascus that thesecurity of this arsenal is fully safeguarded," Gatilov told theagency in an interview published on Wednesday.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissiacknowledged on Monday that the country had chemical weapons,and Western countries and Israel have expressed fears chemicalweapons could fall into the hands of militant groups as Assad'sauthority erodes.

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