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.
- 1 The Story of 2016: Republicans Feeling “Betrayed” by Their Leaders
- 2 How Washington Derailed Amtrak
- 3 Hillary Clinton Won (But It Won’t Always Be This Way)
- 4 The Number of U.S. Farmers Markets Has Nearly Doubled in the Last Five Years
- 5 Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland to Lead U.S. Fight Against ISIS
What We're Following See More »
In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.
In a new Monmouth University poll, 46% of likely voters support Clinton and 39% back Trump, with 7% supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 2% backing Jill Stein of the Green Party. That's down from a poll taken right after the Democratic convention, in which Clinton led by 13 points.
“Hillary Clinton’s advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump’s ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him in four weeks at the first presidential debate, the most anticipated in a generation. ... Her team is also getting advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage.”
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has requested documents from the CEO of Mylan, "the pharmaceutical company under fire after raising the price of EpiPens more than 400 percent since 2007." Meanwhile, top members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing the FDA on the lack of generic competition for EpiPens.