Syria’s regime recently handed over more of its chemical arms, but it has been slow to give up its deadliest substances, newly released figures indicate.
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government on Friday and Monday placed separate batches of warfare chemicals on foreign freighters docked at the port of Latakia, according to fresh data circulated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The watchdog agency is overseeing a global effort to remove and destroy the full Syrian arsenal by the end of June.
The regime’s ninth and tenth chemical shipments were partly composed of “Priority 1” agents, which international authorities have said represent the most dangerous component of Assad’s chemical stockpile.
Damascus has given up a far greater proportion of its materials deemed less dangerous, though. It has shipped out more than four-fifths of its lower-grade chemical warfare stocks, but only 29.5 percent of the Priority 1 stocks, according to the OPCW statement.
In total, Assad’s government has relinquished “more than 45 percent” of its declared stockpile, the international watchdog agency said in an e-mail. The government agreed to hand over its chemical weapons last September, weeks after a sarin nerve agent release allegedly killed more than 1,400 people in an opposition-held suburb of the Syrian capital.
Syria’s government currently is expected to finish shipping out its chemical arms by the middle of April. The 41-nation OPCW Executive Council originally demanded that Damascus finish handing over its Priority 1 stocks by the end of last year, and its remaining materials by early February.
What We're Following See More »
After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."