Syrian President Bashar Assad said his government will allow international experts access to its chemical weapons sites, but cautioned in an interview broadcast Monday that rebels might block them from reaching some of the locations.
Assad's comments came as world leaders gathered in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly at which the use of chemical weapons in Syria was high on the agenda.
In a reminder that the civil war continues despite Assad's overtures to the international community, fighting raged across Syria, including an airstrike that killed at least six people from the same family in central Hama province. A top al-Qaida commander in Syria also was killed in an ambush by rival, Western-backed rebels in the north - the latest example of rising infighting among factions seeking to topple the regime.
Assad told Chinese state TV that Damascus is dedicated to implementing a Russia-U.S. agreement to surrender its chemical weapons to international control. According to the accord that was brokered last week in Geneva, inspectors are to be on the ground in Syria by November and all components of the chemical weapons program are to be removed from the country or destroyed by the middle of next year.