Syria Inspectors Tout Progress, But Fighting Slows Chemical Disarmament

Some Sites Still Inaccessible Because of Civil War

A spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued another statement today, once again cheering the progress made by the inspectors on the ground in Syria, who have now visited more than 20 sites nationwide.

The OPCW statement said that 50 percent of their work in the first stage of disarmament is completed, the inspection of sites and the destruction of equipment. The UN seeks to have this done by November 1, though the OPCW says Syria has under November 15 just to submit the plan, reflecting the disconnect between the two international bodies.

Still and all, the progress is going well, though the ongoing civil war threatens to throw a monkey wrench into any deadlines, and some sites remain inaccessible because they’re too close to the fighting.

Though the OPCW has plenty of experience in disarming chemical arsenals, this is the first time they’ve attempted to do so in the middle of an ongoing war, and that’s presented a lot of challenges, particularly as it relates to chemical sites in contested areas.

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.