Russia: Extremists Struck Syrian Chemical-Arms Shipment

Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 31, 2014, 5:53 a.m.

A Rus­si­an of­fi­cial said ex­trem­ists un­suc­cess­fully tar­geted a chem­ic­al-arms ship­ment pri­or to its re­mov­al from Syr­ia this week, the Voice of Rus­sia re­ports.

“Dur­ing the re­mov­al of the second con­sign­ment of chem­ic­al weapons on Jan. 27, 2014, the con­voy car­ry­ing them was at­tacked by mil­it­ants. The at­tack was de­feated,” Rus­si­an For­eign Min­istry Se­cur­ity and Dis­arm­a­ment De­part­ment Dir­ect­or Mikhail Uly­an­ov said in com­ments re­por­ted on Fri­day.

Uly­an­ov de­scribed the pos­sible strike as he ar­gued that Syr­ia’s gov­ern­ment is jus­ti­fied in mov­ing slowly to send its chem­ic­al-war­fare stocks out of the con­flict-torn na­tion. The United States on Thursday ac­cused Mo­scow’s ally in Dam­as­cus of de­lib­er­ately delay­ing ship­ments in the in­ter­na­tion­al op­er­a­tion to fully elim­in­ate its chem­ic­al ar­sen­al by the end of June.

The Rus­si­an of­fi­cial at­trib­uted the ef­fort’s slow pace to “the un­fa­vor­able se­cur­ity situ­ation on the route for trans­port­ing chem­ic­al weapons com­pon­ents … to Latakia,” where they are to be picked up by for­eign trans­port ves­sels and trans­ferred over­seas for de­struc­tion, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

“We see that the Syr­i­ans are ap­proach­ing the ful­fill­ment of their ob­lig­a­tions ser­i­ously and in good faith,” the wire ser­vice sep­ar­ately quoted him as say­ing in an in­ter­view with In­ter­fax.

Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment is “com­plain­ing about in­suf­fi­cient ma­ter­i­al and tech­nic­al sup­port from the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity,” noted Uly­an­ov, de­scrib­ing the re­cent con­voy at­tack­ers as “rad­ic­al op­pos­i­tion.” “It is not ruled out that Rus­sia will be able to al­loc­ate something ad­di­tion­al,” the Voice of Rus­sia quoted him as say­ing.

Wash­ing­ton and in­ter­na­tion­al au­thor­it­ies, though, this week said Dam­as­cus already has suf­fi­cient equip­ment to move the ma­ter­i­als faster.

“While the two ship­ments (of chem­ic­als) this month rep­res­ent a start, the need for the pro­cess to pick up pace is ob­vi­ous,” Ah­met Üzüm­cü, dir­ect­or gen­er­al of the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons, told his agency’s 41-na­tion gov­ern­ing body on Thursday.

“Ways and means must be found to es­tab­lish con­tinu­ity and pre­dict­ab­il­ity of ship­ments to as­sure states parties that the pro­gram, while delayed, is not de­ferred,” he ad­ded in pre­pared com­ments.

In­ter­na­tion­al con­cerns grew over the use of chem­ic­al arms in Syr­ia fol­low­ing an Au­gust sar­in-gas strike in a Dam­as­cus sub­urb held by As­sad’s op­pon­ents. Weeks later, his gov­ern­ment ac­know­ledged hold­ing chem­ic­al arms and pledged to re­lin­quish the stock­pile.

What We're Following See More »
LOST BY HALF A PERCENTAGE POINT
Sanders Wants a Recount in Kentucky
37 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Did the IRS Overpay in Earned Income Tax Credit Benefits?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

An estimated $15.6 billion, "according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report."

Source:
TIES TO CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE
McAuliffe Under Investigation for Fundraising
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and … the Justice Department” for potentially improper contributions to his 2013 campaign, including while he was a Clinton Global Initiative board member. ... Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from” former Chinese legislator Wang Wenliang. “U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to … elections. … But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status.”

Source:
RAISES SEX ASSAULT, VINCE FOSTER
Trump Takes Aim at Bill Clinton
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump is reviving some of the ugliest political chapters of the 1990s with escalating personal attacks on Bill Clinton's character, part of a concerted effort to smother Hillary Clinton 's campaign message with the weight of decades of controversy. Trump's latest shot came Monday when he released an incendiary Instagram video that includes the voices of two women who accused the former president of sexual assault, underscoring the presumptive Republican nominee's willingness to go far beyond political norms in his critique of his likely Democratic rival. ...In one recent interview, Trump said another topic of potential concern is the suicide of former White House aide Vincent Foster, which remains the focus of intense and far-fetched conspiracy theories on the Internet."

Source:
FUROR AFTER HOUSE OVERSIGHT HEARING
Head of Security for TSA Has Been Reassigned
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration, Kelly Hoggan, has been removed from his position after a hearing about the agency's management, the House Oversight Committee says." Deputy assistant administrator Darby LaJoye will take over for Hoggan on a temporary basis.

Source:
×