BEIRUT – The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled a vote Wednesday afternoon on a Western-drafted resolution that would condemn the reported use of chemical weapons in northern Syria and demand that all parties provide speedy access for investigators.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft called on all 15 members to support the resolution drafted by the U.K., France and the United States saying "every country that really wants the truth will vote in favor of the resolution."
But the final draft includes a paragraph that the Russians objected to last week stressing Syria's requirement to provide investigators with flight plans and information about air operations on April 4 when Khan Sheikhoun was attacked, names of helicopter squadron commanders, and immediate access to air bases where they believe an attack may have been launched.
Rycroft said Russia has a choice of sticking with "the toxic Assad regime that poisons its own people" or seeking peace through negotiations and a political transition.
The Security Council is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. EDT to vote.
10: 45 a.m.
A Syrian official and an opposition monitoring group say the government and rebels have exchanged 30 prisoners and nine bodies, part of an agreement to evacuate four besieged areas in different parts of the country.
Hakim Baghdad, a member of the relief committee for two rebel-besieged villages in northwestern Syria, said Wednesday the overnight release was overseen by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The Red Crescent had no immediate comment.
Military-run media said rebels released eight women, four children and eight bodies. Pro-government militias freed 19 gunmen and released one body.
The exchange came as part of a deal to evacuate over 10,000 residents from two opposition-held areas near Damascus and the two villages in northern Syria, an agreement that critics say amounts to forced displacement.