Russia has asked Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpile under “international control” in an attempt to avoid US military strikes, and then have them destroyed. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the offer was made during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem. Mr Muallem said he welcomed the initiative. The US is threatening strikes accusing the Syrian regime of war crimes, though Damascus denies the claims. US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Europe to garner support for the military action, has once again warned that taking no action is riskier than launching strikes. When asked at a news conference whether there was anything Mr Assad could do to avoid military action, Mr Kerry replied that he could hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons within the next week. US officials subsequently clarified that Mr Kerry was making a “rhetorical argument” rather than a serious offer.