(Washington, D.C.)--The deadly war for control of Syria has taken a gruesome turn for the worse with the heinous attack against civilian populations on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21. The available evidence, including credible reports from Doctors Without Borders, strongly suggests that the many injuries and deaths reported were the result of a major chemical weapons attack. In this instance, the use of chemicals was more significant and the casualties were greater than earlier suspected episodes involving chemical munitions--and more brazen given that UN inspectors had just arrived in Damascus.
The U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on a small scale, the White House said.
Differences over language addressing the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria sharply divided the recent review conference for the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The U.S. intelligence community has tentatively concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, but is seeking further evidence.
The current situation in Syria poses severe risks, but it may be creating an opportunity for the international community to put in place important constraints on Syria’s chemical weapons and armory of missiles.
President Barack Obama last month warned the Syrian government that using or moving chemical weapons would be seen as a step that was so serious it could trigger a U.S. military response.
Amid ongoing concerns about the fate of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, officials in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East are making plans to secure it once the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls.
The Department of Defense is responding to congressional criticism of its purchase of helicopters from a Russian firm that also is supplying arms to the Syrian government, saying the aircraft are central to U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and have qualities that the alternatives do not
A number of U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern that political instability in Syria threatens the security of the country’s chemical and conventional weapons stockpiles as well as its nuclear material. Administration officials have acknowledged the threat and say they will continue to monitor the situation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has made “no progress” in recent discussions with Syria on resolving concerns about that country’s suspected attempt to pursue nuclear weapons, Director-General Yukiya Amano told the agency’s governing board Nov. 17.
Syria is ready to agree on a plan with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to address concerns about a site the agency determined was “very likely” a nuclear reactor, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano told the agency’s governing board Sept. 12.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors referred Syria’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council in a divided June 9 vote. The board action came after the agency determined Syria "was very likely" building a nuclear reactor.
Volume 2, Issue 7, June 9, 2011
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors' decision today to refer Syria to the UN Security Council for noncompliance with its safeguards obligations was an important step in maintaining the credibility of the agency and the safeguards regime. It was critical that the international community demonstrate that countries could not consistently refuse to cooperate with IAEA investigations with impunity.