A possible breakthrough over Syria.

On Monday, Syria welcomed a surprise proposal from Russia to place its chemical weapons under international control.

The move is a potential game changer and could potentially avert a proposed U. S. military strike against Syria for a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, speaking to reporters in Moscow.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WALID AL-MOUALEM, SAYING (ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL TRANSLATION):

"The Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership's concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country, and also motivated by our confidence in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is attempting to prevent American aggression against our people."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's top diplomat stopped short of saying his government accepts the plan.

But the development was serious enough to delay a vote in the U. S. Senate, scheduled for Wednesday, on authorizing a U. S. military strike.

Meanwhile, the civil war raged in Syria on Sunday and Monday

.

Video, which Reuters cannot verify, shows shelling and fighting in northwestern city of Idlib, in eastern Syria, and in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

That's the same suburb that was allegedly gassed last month, and is now at the center of the international debate over Syria.

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