John Kerry says Syria's co-operation "is not insignificant"
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime deserves credit for complying with a chemical weapons deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.
He was speaking after international monitors said the destruction of Syria's stockpile had begun.
The mission was established under a UN resolution, which was passed after a deal between Russia and the US.
The resolution followed international outrage at a chemical weapons attack near Damascus in August.
"The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian co-operation and obviously for the Syrian compliance," Mr Kerry said after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Indonesia.
"I think it's extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed.
"I think it's a credit to the Assad regime, frankly. It's a good beginning and we welcome a good beginning," Mr Kerry added.
Syria's chemical weapons
- Syria believed to possess more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents and pre-cursor chemicals, including blister agent, sulphur mustard, and sarin nerve agent; also thought to have produced most potent nerve agent, VX
- US believes Syria's arsenal can be "delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets"
- Syria acceded to Chemical Weapons Convention on 14 September; it signed Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972 but never ratified
The destruction of Syria's chemical arsenal is being overseen by a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).