News / Middle East

    Locations Mulled for Destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

    Sigrid Kaag, the head of the U.N. team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, speaks with reporters in front of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 22, 2013.
    Sigrid Kaag, the head of the U.N. team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, speaks with reporters in front of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, Oct. 22, 2013.
    Margaret Besheer
    The Special Coordinator for the Joint OPCW-UN Mission charged with eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons said she expects to know by November 15 where Syria’s chemical weapons will be destroyed. 

    Sigrid Kaag said Tuesday there were on-going discussions and negotiations this week at The Hague about where the actual destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons would take place.

    “Planning teams for the Syrian authorities, U.N. and OPCW experts are convening to look at the details and the best possible options, of course I presume, will be decided upon, and it will be known by the 15th of November,” said Kaag.

    Earlier Tuesday, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Üzümcü said the most viable alternative for destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal would be outside the country, due to the on-going armed conflict within its borders.

    Kaag spoke to reporters after a private briefing to the U.N. Security Council.  She said after the joint mission’s first full month of work there has been progress under difficult circumstances.

    Kaag said that 21 of 23 sites have been visited.  The two sites that have not were due to security concerns.  Kaag said the mission intended to visit them in the future, if the situation on the ground allowed.

    U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power cautiously welcomed progress on the destruction of specialized equipment used for chemical weapons production, mixing and filling, saying the burden was on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fulfill all of its obligations to fully and verifiably eliminate their chemical weapons program.

    “There is nothing yet to celebrate, but it is significant that we have made significant progress toward taking away a potent weapon of war and terror from Assad and his forces,” said the ambassador.

    She said the elimination of chemical weapons was not a substitute for ending the violence that has consumed Syria and she urged the immediate expansion of critical humanitarian aid to the country. 

    The United Nations warned Monday the humanitarian situation was deteriorating rapidly, with 9.3 million Syrians now in need of assistance.  Of them, 6.5 million are displaced from their homes, inside the country.

    Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, welcomed news of the Syrian authorities’ cooperation with the joint mission.  Asked about the humanitarian crisis, he said the situation would continue to be difficult as long as the conflict went on and this is why efforts needed to be intensified to get the parties to the negotiating table in Geneva.

    In Geneva, U.N.-Arab League Syria Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told a news conference that he hopes peace talks between the government and opposition could still take place before the end of the year.

    Originally, the United Nations had been aiming for late November, but the envoy laid out his revised hopes after meeting with U.S. and Russian officials, as well as with diplomats from the other three permanent Security Council members.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: chukwuemeka Ukor from: lagos,Nigeria
    November 06, 2013 3:40 AM
    I maintain that assad must go or he conducts a genuine election.syria is not his father's property.searching where he godrà his chemical weapons is not an issue.if he forza not want to comply on all around then he must be remove by allied forces.i just dont know what is wrong with all these people.let me test my case for now.thanks.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.