Syria Dragging Its Feet on Chemical Weapon Destruction as Deadline Looms

Will Syria keep its poisonous chemical weapons? Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

Will Syria keep its poisonous chemical weapons? Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

The Syrians may be making progress in destroying their chemical weapons program, but that doesn’t mean they’re meeting expectations. United States Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that while Syria is around halfway done with the removal of the weapons, “We in the United States are convinced that if Syria wanted to, they could move faster.”

Meanwhile, the group tasked to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons program told The Independent that they believe the June 30 deadline can still be reached. But it’s up to Syria now. Out of excuses and running low on time—will Syria do what they promised?

Sigrid Kaag, who heads up the group tasked with removing Syria’s chemical weapons program, told the Independent that after logistical issues caused delays, now Syria has what they need to complete the job. That leaves the Syrian regime with no one else to blame if the project doesn’t finish.

So while Kaag said they were closing in on the 60 percent mark for removing the weapons, Kerry noted that Syria’s track record here isn’t satisfactory.

In comments released by the State Department, Kerry said of the work done so far, “We are just about at the 50 percent removal mark. That’s significant, but the real significance will only be when we get all of the weapons out.”

A real concern is the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons facilities. Kerry, in his comments, noted that “regrettably, the Syrians missed a March 15th date for destruction of facilities.” Already more than a week behind schedule, The Independent reported that as of Sunday one of the sites still has not even been revealed.

So will Syria follow through? Will they allow their deadly weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed as they promised?

The countdown is on.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 26, 2014)

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