TODAY   |  September 15, 2013

The road map to eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons

Syria has one week to declare its chemical weapons, and though the deal eases the tensions for now, there are still many steps to take. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> of state john kerry just arrived in israel where he'll meet with prime minister benjamin netanyahu to talk about the agreement he mate with his russian counterpart on a framework for securing syria 's chemical weapons . the question is will syria 's president cooperate. kristen welker is outside the white house .

>> reporter: good morning to you. no doubt this deal deescalates tensions for now. president obama has called it an important concrete step. he acknowledged there's a lot of work that remains unfinished and uncertain. after marathon talks in geneva, secretary kerry and his russian counterpart sergei lavrov announced roadmap for destroying syria 's stockpile or chemical weapons .

>> there can be no games, no room for avoidance.

>> reporter: how does it break down? the timeline is ambitious. syria has to provide an account of its chemical weapons in a week, inspectors on the ground by november, the entire stockpile destroyed or removed by the middle of next year. left unsaid, what happens if syria doesn't comply? those details are still being worked out and could include sanctions. but in a concession to russia, the u.s. has said the u.n. resolution doesn't have to threaten military action . white house officials insist the president has the right to launch a military strike without the u.n. if assad stalls.

>> the president of the united states under our constitution as commander in chief always retains the right to defend the united states of america and our interests.

>> reporter: republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham slammed the deal calling it meaningless without explicit threat of military force . others are weighing in.

>> putin has played his cards very well and emerged as a major power when he has no right to be a major power .

>> i am ecstatic that the united states wants to be just not a leader in war, but a leader in diplomacy.

>> reporter: weapons experts say the real work begins when inspectors try to remove those chemical weapons . it's already a difficult task. infinitely more complicated in a war zone such as syria . one u.s. officials tells nbc news the job is simply daunting.

>> kristen welker this morning. thank