They've got a deal on Syria: John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have agreed on the broad strokes of a plan designed to culminate in the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, reports Reuters. Under the deal, Bashar al-Assad will turn over a list of his chemical arsenal within a week, UN inspectors will be on the ground in Syria by November, and the weapons will start being destroyed next year, reports the Washington Post. All will be spelled out in a UN resolution that will call for some kind of penalties—perhaps sanctions, though not the use of force—if Syria doesn't comply.
“If fully implemented, this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world," said Kerry, who set off the US-Russian talks with a seemingly offhand comment on Monday. Asked then how Assad could avoid a military strike, Kerry responded, “He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.” Russia pounced on the opening, and Assad has agreed in principle. (Read more Syria stories.)