International officials said Syria appears poised to miss a March 15 target date for eliminating a dozen chemical-arms manufacturing sites, Reuters reports.
States parties to an international chemical-weapons ban called last year for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government to finish eliminating the 12 sites by the middle of this month. That goal is now out of reach, according to Thursday comments from sources at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“That [deadline] will definitely be missed,” one insider told the wire service. “None of them have been destroyed at the moment.”
The source described seven of the facilities as “hardened” airplane storage sites, and five of the locations as underground installations. At a meeting of the 41-nation OPCW Executive Council this week, multiple Western envoys rejected a Syrian government proposal to close off the sites with cement rather than fully demolish them, according to agency insiders.
“The physical destruction of CW production facilities is a fundamental requirement of the [Chemical Weapons] Convention, and a prudent protection against the retainment or restart of a chemical-weapons program,” U.S. Ambassador Robert Mikulak said to the body in prepared remarks.
Assad regime’s pledged to relinquish its chemical-warfare stockpile and related assets when it faced accusations of releasing sarin nerve agent over an opposition-held suburb of Damascus, allegedly killing more than 1,400 people in August.
“Destroyed means destroyed,” a source told Reuters. “Why should a country that used chemical weapons against its own people be given special privileges?”
Assad’s government never accepted blame for the Aug. 21 strike, and Russia has backed the denials by its partner in Damascus.
What We're Following See More »
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."