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Syria missed deadline for destroying chemical weapon: Western sources

 

Syria missed another deadline Wednesday for destroying its chemical weapons amid a British report that Bashar Assad's regime is stockpiling the weaponry for use in case the country is partitioned. USA Today informs about this. 

Syria agreed last year to turn over its chemical weapons to the United Nations as Western powers were threatening to attack the country for using the weapons on neighborhoods where rebels against his regime were hiding out.

Hundreds of women and children died in the attacks in what President Obama called a "red line" that would force him to consider military action. But Obama backed down after Russia offered to broker a deal with its ally Assad and get him to agree to relinquish his chemical weapons stockpiles.

Under a timetable set up by the U.N. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Syria was to have given up its entire stockpile of chemical weapons by Wednesday.

Syria has delivered only a small fraction of the most dangerous components of its chemical weapons — sarin, mustard and VX gases — all of which were supposed to be handed over by Dec. 31, according to OPCW.

Delivery of all the less-dangerous industrial chemical components was supposed to be completed by Wednesday.

"They're not going to make that timeline either," said Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the U.N. organization, which is overseeing the dismantling of Syria's illicit weapons program. The mission, which started off strong last fall, "has reached a kind of a stasis at the moment."

To date, only 4% of Syria's chemical weapons components have been delivered to the port of Latakia to be loaded onto ships and transported for destruction abroad.

Russia said Tuesday that Syria is preparing a new schedule and will make further shipments soon. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said Syria is still cooperating.

However, analysts and a British publication say Syria is hiding much of its stockpile from the U.N.

According to UN about 130,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war.

 


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