Russia has asked Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, in an attempt to avoid US military strikes. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the offer was made during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Mua-llem, who welcomed the initiative. The US said it was sceptical, but would have a "hard look" at the plan. The US accuses Damascus of war crimes; allegations denied by the regime. 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.