Syria Way Behind Schedule for Chemical Weapons Disposal

The country will miss a deadline next week to remove all toxic agents.

Women shout slogans during a demonstration gathering activists, including Syrians living in Turkey, opposed to Syria's regime of President Bashar al-Assad after the Friday prayers on July 29, 2011 in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul. Assad's forces have killed at least 1,486 civilians since the anti-regime uprising began in mid-March, according to rights groups. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 29, 2014, 10:33 a.m.

Syr­ia will miss next week’s dead­line to have all chem­ic­al weapons com­pounds re­moved from the coun­try, now run­ning up to two months be­hind sched­ule, sources said Wed­nes­day.

With ap­prox­im­ately 1,433 met­ric tons of tox­ic agents re­moved from Syr­ia, more than 95 per­cent still re­main with­in the coun­try, and the joint U.N.-Or­gan­isa­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons mis­sion to re­move and des­troy Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al ar­sen­al is between six to eight weeks be­hind sched­ule.

“It’s not enough and there is no sign of more,” a source told Re­u­ters, with oth­ers adding that the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment needs to sig­nal that it is still com­mit­ted to re­mov­ing its chem­ic­al weapons stock­pile.

The chem­ic­al weapons com­pounds were sup­posed to re­moved from the coun­try by Feb. 6.

And it wouldn’t be the first time the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment has missed a dead­line.The first ship­ment of chem­ic­al weapons ma­ter­i­als left the coun­try earli­er this month, ap­prox­im­ately a week after the end-of-the-year dead­line to get the ma­ter­i­als to the Lat­takia port, which sits along Syr­ia’s west­ern bor­der.

A second ship­ment left Monday.