U.S. skeptical of Syria chemical arms declaration
UNITED NATIONS — The United States is reviewing with skepticism the Syrian government's chemical arms declaration, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday as another official cautioned that intelligence suggested Syria may try to hide some weapons.
Under a Russian-U.S. proposal, Syria agreed in September to destroy its chemical weapons program by mid-2014, averting a threat of missile strikes by Washington following an Aug. 21 sarin gas attack in Damascus that killed hundreds of people.
Syria's submitted the lengthy declaration of its chemical weapons program on Oct. 27 and must agree to a plan with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by mid-November that explains in detail how and where to destroy the poisons, including mustard gas, sarin and possibly VX nerve agent.
“We are still reviewing that document. We obviously bring skepticism born of years of dealing with this regime, years of obfuscation in other contexts, and of course a lot of broken promises in the context of this current war,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said.
She noted that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government had so far cooperated with the joint OPCW/U.N. mission, which has inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites in Syria. The remaining two sites were too dangerous to reach for inspection.
Syria declared 30 production, filling and storage facilities, eight mobile filling units and three chemical weapons-related facilities. They contained about 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, mostly in the form of raw precursors, 290 tons of loaded munitions and 1,230 unfilled munitions.
“You will certainly hear from us in the event that we detect non-compliance or we detect significant discrepancies in their declaration,” Power told reporters after the U.N. Security Council was briefed on the joint OPCW/U.N. mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program.
A second U.S. official, speaking separately to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said intelligence provided “indications the Syrians may be intending to hold some of their stockpile in reserve.”
“This development is not surprising. ... At this point, it's not derailing the diplomatic process,” the official said.
The CIA and the Pentagon declined to comment.
More than 100,000 people have been killed and about 2.2 million people have fled during Syria's 21⁄2-year civil war. The United Nations says about 9.3 million people or nearly 40 percent of the population need help within the country.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chinese jet buzzes Navy aircraft, Pentagon says
- Russia sends unauthorized convoy into Ukraine
- Witnesses recount secret July raid to free journalist at ISIS base in Syria
- 18 accused spies executed by Gaza terrorists
- Interpol probes Thailand’s ‘Baby Factory’
- Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberian treatment centers inundated
- Crisis puts Pakistan army back in game
- Iraqi terrorists are Islam’s enemy, Saudi cleric warns
- Air power given bigger role in China
- Rebels boast of new Russian support
- Chinese cultists on trial in eatery murder