Syria Ratifies Chemical Weapons Ban

UN Confirms Receipt of Official Documents

Following hot on the heels of comments by President Bashar Assad backing the idea, the Syrian government has formally ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), obliging them to end production of chemical weapons and move toward their eventual destruction.

Syria was one of seven remaining nations on the planet that haven’t ratified the treaty, and the list will now only include six: Israel, Myanmar, Angola, Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan.

The United Nations has confirmed receipt of the documents verifying Syria’s ratification of the CWC, and Assad has indicated that he intends to have a full list of his nation’s arsenal available for the UN within 30 days.

The 30 days is a specific requirement of the CWC, though Secretary of State John Kerry has angrily rejected it as unacceptable, and has suggested the US might attack Syria if they stick to the actual terms of the deal.

The declarations are to be made to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the deadline is 30 days after the ban enters into force, and while it is unclear if that means today, when the ban was officially ratified by the government, or after the documents are processed. Assad’s comments suggest he is treating the 30 days as starting today, however.

The process of destroying Syria’s chemical arms is expected to take years, and potentially even decades, though a better estimate will likely emerge once the data is released and the scope of Syria’s program becomes apparent. In his comments Assad expressed hope that the deal would mean an end to US threats to attack Syria, though the Obama Administration, and John Kerry in particular, continues to talk up the “military option.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.