Syria’s Last Chemical Cache Locked in Place by Fighting

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
May 9, 2014, 9:31 a.m.

Syr­ia’s fi­nal de­clared batch of war­fare chem­ic­al can­not be ex­trac­ted for de­struc­tion at this point be­cause of heavy fight­ing, a U.N. of­fi­cial has con­firmed.

“There is a lot of fight­ing tak­ing place,” Sigrid Kaag, the dip­lo­mat over­see­ing Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al dis­arm­a­ment, was quoted as say­ing on Thursday by the New York Times. “It’s not a situ­ation where you want a chem­ic­al weapons con­voy passing through.”

At a brief­ing with re­port­ers in New York, Kaag provided per­haps the most spe­cif­ic in­form­a­tion to date about the fi­nal eight per­cent of Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons stock­pile that have yet to be re­moved from the coun­try. Locked in place at an air­field east of Dam­as­cus are 100 tons of ma­ter­i­als, packed in­to 16 con­tain­ers, that could be used to make the deadly nerve agent sar­in, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Once of­fi­cials can safely ac­cess the site, Kaag said it would take “less than a work­ing week” to pack the ma­ter­i­als and ship them to the port of Latakia, from which they could be taken for de­struc­tion to a U.S.-provided cargo ship mod­i­fied for the mis­sion.

While the ma­ter­i­als were con­sidered “safe and se­cure” at the re­gime-con­trolled air­field on Thursday, the rebel group threat­en­ing the site are “the more ex­treme kind,” the dip­lo­mat warned. “Glob­al ji­had has come to Syr­ia.”

Kaag in­dic­ated that mil­it­ary ac­tion by the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment was planned to push back the rebels.

“From their per­spect­ive, it is something that needs to hap­pen be­cause it is an im­port­ant route, and it’s not far from Dam­as­cus,” she was quoted as say­ing by the AP.

Syr­ia so far has re­moved roughly 92 per­cent of its de­clared chem­ic­al stocks, fol­low­ing a pledge to dis­arm last year in the wake of a sar­in gas at­tack in a Dam­as­cus. The re­gime made the com­mit­ment be­cause West­ern powers had con­sidered a mil­it­ary strike.

The Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons has sent in­spect­ors to the coun­try to in­vest­ig­ate al­leg­a­tions that Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment forces re­cently used mu­ni­tions filled with chlor­ine gas in the civil war.

What We're Following See More »
CONGRESS BETTER GET ON BOARD
Mnuchin: Expect Tax Overhaul by August
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS
‘TOP OF THE PACK’
Trump Looking to Expand Nuclear Arsenal
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS
HAD ATTRACTED A CROWD TODAY
Alt-Right Leader Spencer Removed from CPAC
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
RECREATIONAL USERS
White House Promises Crackdown on Pot
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS
SAYS LEFT WILL GO INTO “MELTDOWN”
Cruz Predicts Another SCOTUS Vacancy “This Summer”
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login