Deadline for transfer of chemical weapons delayed in Syria

By Hannah Gullickson,

This Tuesday, Syria missed its deadline for transferring its stockpile of chemical weapons to Danish and Norwegian frigates.

The Guardian says that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) scheduled these ships to transport 500 tons of Sarin and VX nerve agents from Latakia, Syria. Russia had flown armored trucks to bring these chemicals to the ships, but it is unsure whether these trucks have reached their locations.

According to the resolution between Syria, the United States and Russia this August, Syria had agreed to demolish all its chemical weapons by June 2014. The OPCW scheduled the first installment to be demolished at the end of March 2014, when U.S. and U.K. ships will dissolve the chemicals by a process involving heated water and chemical reagents.

At the moment, both The Guardian and the BBC News say that the OPCW and the UN are blaming bad weather, road closures, bureaucratic roadblocks and shifting battle lines for the causes of the delay.

Norwegian Defence Ministry spokesman Lars Hovtun said, “We are still on high alert to go into Syria,” said Hovtun. “We still don’t know exactly when the orders will come.”


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