Syrian Chemical Weapons Deadline to Be Missed
The deadly toxins scheduled to be removed from Syria by Dec. 31 in an effort to destroy the country’s chemical arsenal have not yet been delivered to the port of Latakia to be put on ships, a Russian diplomat said Friday.
“The removal has not yet begun,” Mikhail Ulyanov said after an international meeting about the effort. Syria agreed to abandon its chemical weapons program by June under a deal between Russia and the United States after an Aug. 21 gas attack that the U.S. blamed on President Bashar Assad’s government.
Russia, which has given Assad crucial support during the nearly three-year-old civil conflict in Syria, airlifted 75 armored vehicles and trucks to the nation last week to carry chemicals to Latakia.
Syrian government forces took control of a key highway connecting Damascus to the coast earlier this month, but Ulyanov said the trip could still be treacherous.
“They will have to be taken on dangerous roads, there are several dangerous stretches,” RIA quoted Ulyanov, head of the Foreign Ministry’s disarmament department, as saying.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.