Watchdog Praises Syria on Disarmament, Needs Ceasefire to Meet Deadlines

Deadlines 'Unrealistic' in Middle of a Civil War

Leaders of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have praised Syria once again for their cooperation with OPCW inspectors in the first steps toward disarmament, a process which began over the weekend.

Syria ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) last month and OPCW inspectors have begun arriving in the nation in the past week and a half with an eye on facilitating the disarmament.

At the same time, the OPCW says the deadlines set by the UN Security Council are wholly unrealistic, notably the November 1 deadline to have fully destroyed every single production facility related to Syria’s ample program.

“Much depends on the situation on the ground,” noted OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu, who said the only real way for the deadlines to get met would be if there is a temporary ceasefire put in place to allow the inspectors safe access to all facilities in a timely fashion.

That seems unlikely, as while the Syrian government has offered some tepid support for peace talks, the June Geneva Conference still hasn’t been held months later, and no rebel faction has been willing to participate. With rebels still irked they didn’t manage to parlay Syria’s arsenal into a foreign invasion to install them, they will surely not agree to a ceasefire simply to facilitate that disarmament.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.