Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Syria Surrenders Last Chemical Arms, But Key Questions Persist
A top investigator said Syria has surrendered the final chemical arms it admitted to holding, but any secret arsenal may allow gas attacks to continue.
"The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura," said Ahmet Üzümcü, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The final tanks of potentially lethal warfare substances reportedly had been locked in place by fighting around Damascus.
Monday's development bookends a months-long international campaign to remove roughly 1,300 metric tons of chemical-warfare materials from the violence-racked Middle Eastern nation. President Bashar Assad's government agreed to relinquish the stockpile last year, after nerve gas killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb and prompted threats of foreign intervention in Syria's civil war.
"Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict," Üzümcü said in a statement to reporters. "And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight timeframes."
The disarmament effort encountered months of delays, though, and an international mandate to destroy the stockpile this month is now out of reach. Üzümcü last week said extending the deadline is out of the question, and the U.N. Security Council would consider how to respond, the Daily Sabah reported on Monday.
The chemical-arms watchdog chief added that his agency still has work to do in Syria. It remains unclear whether Assad's regime may be hiding more warfare chemicals, and Üzümcü urged the government to continue supporting an investigation into possible strikes with undeclared toxic gas.
"We hope to conclude soon the clarification of certain aspects of the Syrian declaration and commence the destruction of certain structures that were used as chemical-weapons production facilities," he added in his Monday announcement. Damascus denies it ever used chemical agents in combat, and blames opposition forces for any attacks with substances controlled under an international treaty it signed last year.
Meanwhile, a shipment of Syrian chemical-warfare stocks arrived in Finland on Saturday, Yle Uutiset reported. The stockpile's deadliest portion is slated for delivery to the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro, where it would be moved onto a specially equipped U.S. vessel for destruction.
May 23, 2014
The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
Oct. 31, 2013
This CNS issue brief examines the lessons learned from dismantling Libya and Iraq's chemical weapons programs and what these two cases presage for disarmament in Syria. In particular, this article explores the challenges relating to ensuring material and physical security for both inspectors and the chemical weapons stockpile itself; verifying the accuracy and completeness of disclosed inventories; and developing effective monitoring and verification regimes for the long-term. The conclusion examines recommendations stemming from this analysis.
This article provides an overview of Syria's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.