News / Middle East

Syria Chemical Inspection May Start Tuesday

United Nations chemical weapons expert inspects map during visit to site of an alleged attack in Damascus suburbs of Zamalka, Aug. 28, 2013.
United Nations chemical weapons expert inspects map during visit to site of an alleged attack in Damascus suburbs of Zamalka, Aug. 28, 2013.
VOA News
International experts will begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal by Tuesday under a plan set to be approved by the world's top chemical weapons monitoring group.
 
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will vote late Friday on the draft resolution, which calls for inspections within 30 days at all chemical weapons sites declared by Syria's government.
 
The draft also requires Syria to provide OPCW inspectors access to "any other site identified by a State Party as having been involved" in Syria's chemical weapons program.
 
If approved, the demands will become part of a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that will formalize a plan requiring President Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons by mid-2014.
 
In violence Friday, activists said a car bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens in the town of Rankus, just north of Damascus.
 
Rankus is a Sunni town in a region mostly under control of rebels trying to overthrow Assad's government.
 
The United States and Russia agreed Thursday on the language of the Security Council draft resolution, following weeks of negotiations about how to ensure Assad complies with the disarmament plan.
 
U.S. officials praised the text as legally binding and enforceable, though it does not include an automatic trigger for enforcement if Syria does not comply, as the White House had wanted.
 
President Assad agreed earlier this month to give up his chemical weapons, following threats of U.S. military strikes in response to a poison gas attack on a rebel-held area last month that killed hundreds.
 
Assad denies carrying out the attack. He and his Russian allies say rebels trying to overthrow his government were behind the incident. 
 
The conflict in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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by: Florence Bottomburp from: UK
September 27, 2013 9:49 AM
Kenya’s National Intelligence Agency (NIS) warned some people not to visit the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi before the bloody siege, a warning that was not received by the 67 victims who lost their lives during the attack. Buried at the end of a London Independent report about the incident is the revelation that NIS, “did warn the police and officials inside the President’s office before the Westgate siege, but its warnings went unheeded.”

Individual officials with NIS also told their family members to avoid the Westgate mall on Saturday because it would be the target of an attack. A pregnant policewoman was warned by her brother, an NIS officer, not to visit Westgate. “She has told police that her brother who is a NIS officer warned her not to visit Westgate that Saturday because she would not be able to run,” a senior officer said.

Evidence of prior knowledge that went unheeded is just one of the many questions that are still circulating in the aftermath of the horrific attack, details about which are only becoming more gruesome. Doctors who have had the chance to examine victims say that their injuries are consistent with rape and brutal torture, including eyeballs being gouged out and fingers and parts of noses ripped off using pliers.

Dozens of hostages are still unaccounted for, while the fate of the attackers is still being kept under wraps by authorities. An explanation as to why part of the mall collapsed after an explosion in the final stages of the siege has also not been forthcoming, causing mounting public anger.

As highlighted earlier this week, the attack was carried out by Somalia’s Al Shabaab terror group, which is the African branch of Al-Qaeda, and is ideologically aligned with the same jihadists that the US and NATO backed in Libya and are currently supporting in Syria. The 2011 invasion of Libya expanded Al-Qaeda’s operational capacity in both Africa and the Middle East.

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