Print options

September 21, 2013

Syria Submits Chemical Weapons List to Watchdog

by VOA News

An international monitoring group says the Syrian government has handed over an inventory of its chemical weapons, a provision in a U.S.- Russian plan to avert a possible U.S. strike on Syria.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has received the "expected disclosure" from the Syrian government.

In a Saturday statement, the OPCW says its "technical secretariat" is reviewing the information.

On September 14 U.S. and Russian officials agreed on a framework for ending Syria's chemical weapons program that included a one-week deadline for Damascus to submit a comprehensive list of such weapons.

The plan also calls for Syria to eliminate or remove all chemical weapons material and equipment by mid-2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Syrian non-compliance could lead to a request for punitive action in the U.N.

Russia has opposed foreign military intervention in Syria. But Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov was quoted Saturday as saying Russia could change its position if it became convinced that Syria was "cheating" on its weapons disclosure.

A U.N. report was released on September 16 showing overwhelming evidence that chemical weapons were used in an attack near Damascus, last month. However, the report does not assess blame.

The U.S. and other Western powers have said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces carried out the attack. The U.S. says the attack killed more than 1,400 people.

In another development, Syrian activists say government troops backed by militia fighters have killed at least 15 people during a raid on a Sunni village in the center of the country.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday two women and a child were among those killed in the attack on Sheik Hadid village.

The group said the fighters used guns and knives to kill the residents, calling the raid a "massacre."

It said it is not clear if the rest of the men killed were rebel fighters or civilians.

Syria's government is fighting a Sunni-dominated rebel force. Over 100,000 people have been killed in the two-and-a-half-year conflict.

The conflict has prompted thousands of Syrians to flee to other countries.