U.N. Inspection Team Poised for Entry into Syria

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 15, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

A team of chem­ic­al ex­perts on Wed­nes­day as­sembled by the United Na­tions was about to travel to Syr­ia, hav­ing re­ceived the go-ahead from Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment after ex­ten­ded ne­go­ti­ations, CBS News re­por­ted.

One U.N. of­fi­cial, who would not agree to be named, said the team would ar­rive in Dam­as­cus on Fri­day, the net­work re­por­ted. Earli­er in the week, the mis­sion was sus­pen­ded in­def­in­itely due to “tech­nic­al hitches,” in the words of one an­onym­ous source.

“Everything is set. The in­spect­ors will in­ter­view vic­tims, wit­nesses, doc­tors and res­id­ents. They will re­port what they see on the ground but will not make de­cisions,” the of­fi­cial told CBS for the Wed­nes­day re­port.

“As agreed with the gov­ern­ment of Syr­ia, the team will re­main in the coun­try to con­duct its activ­it­ies, in­clud­ing onsite vis­its, for a peri­od of 14 days, ex­tend­able upon mu­tu­al con­sent,” the United Na­tions said in state­ment re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

Speak­ing on Thursday, a Syr­i­an For­eign Min­istry in­sider said “there were no dif­fi­culties in the ne­go­ti­ations and Syr­ia said it is ready to give the team all the fa­cil­it­ies it needs to carry out its mis­sion.”

“Syr­ia has noth­ing to hide,” the source told Agence France-Presse.

Mean­while, Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey con­tin­ued his weeklong trip to the Middle East on Wed­nes­day, en­ga­ging in talks with Jordan’s king and top mil­it­ary of­fi­cial about se­cur­ing their na­tion’s bor­der with Syr­ia and hand­ling up­wards of 550,000 Syr­i­an refugees, the New York Times re­por­ted.

Jordan is seek­ing U.S. help in se­cur­ing a bor­der that is in­creas­ingly used by weapons smug­glers, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per. Ad­di­tion­ally, King Ab­dul­lah II and Gen. Mashal al-Za­ben dis­cussed with De­mp­sey the need for in­creased hu­man­it­ari­an aid for Syr­i­ans who have fled to Jordan, ac­cord­ing to the Times.

“We did not talk about dir­ect mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion,” De­mp­sey said. “That ac­tu­ally nev­er came up. What did come up was dis­cus­sions about what we could do to help them build their cap­ab­il­ity and ca­pa­cit­ies, wheth­er it was bor­der sur­veil­lance and ISR [In­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance].”

The United States and Jordan have close dip­lo­mat­ic ties, mak­ing ad­di­tion­al aid likely, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per. That could in­clude spe­cial­ized train­ing for Jord­ani­an Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions forces to in­crease their coun­terter­ror­ism cap­ab­il­it­ies and pre­pare a de­fense plan against a chem­ic­al weapons at­tack.

Ad­di­tion­ally,  U.S. sup­port could come in the form of com­bin­ing the gath­er­ing of in­tel­li­gence and in­teg­rat­ing in­tel­li­gence and op­er­a­tions, the Amer­ic­an Forces Press Ser­vice re­por­ted.

De­mp­sey said part of the chal­lenge in Syr­ia un­der dis­cus­sion with Jordan and Is­rael is “identi­fy­ing a mod­er­ate op­pos­i­tion [in Syr­ia], and then en­abling it to be ef­fect­ive,” the press ser­vice re­por­ted.

“Cer­tainly our part­ners in the re­gion are far bet­ter equipped to de­term­ine who’s who and with what mo­tiv­a­tion than we are. They are and will con­tin­ue to be an im­port­ant part of mak­ing those iden­ti­fic­a­tions,” AFPS cited De­mp­sey as say­ing.

What We're Following See More »
House Republicans Pour Cold Water On 35 Percent Tariff
4 hours ago

Donald Trump went on a Twitter rampage Sunday morning, promising a 35 percent tariff on goods imported by businesses that leave America. Not so fast, say Republican leaders in Congress. "I don’t want to get into some kind of trade war," said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a comment later reiterated by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who instead called for overhaul of corporate taxes instead of a punitive tax.

Al Gore Meets with Ivanka and Donald Trump
4 hours ago

Former Vice President Al Gore found himself in a room with Donald Trump Monday just after meeting with Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Gore discussed the topic of climate change with both Trumps and called his discussion with Donald Trump "extremely interesting." It remains to be seen if Donald Trump will deal with the topic of climate change during his presidency.

Funding Bill To Be Released Tuesday
5 hours ago

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.

Mayor Bowser to Sit Down with Trump
7 hours ago

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is making the pilgrimage to Trump Tower tomorrow, where she and Chief of Staff John Falchiccio and Senior Adviser Beverly Perry will meet with President-elect Donald Trump. In a statement, she said she'd be discussing "DC’s growth and common areas of interest."

Pat McCrory Finally Concedes
9 hours ago

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.