Summary: In a statement released by the United Nations Secretary General early this week, it is reported that one hundred chemical weapons specialists will enter the country, over the next eight months, to work alongside the joint mission to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. It was announced that in addition to the work inside Syrian borders, the team will establish a staging ground on the island of Cyprus, about 300 miles west of Syria. This staging ground will prove to be important as it has been realized that the processing of destroying the chemical weapons will be harder than originally expected. While the chemical weapons plants and housing units area in government controlled areas, many of them are in regions of the country that are under Syrian rebel attack. While the Syrian government has been cooperative thus far, the rebel groups have been less than accommodating. An operation of this size has never been attempted before and the risk is much more dangerous in a country years deep in a civil war.
Analysis: While officials and experts have taken all the necessary precautions so far, they seem to continue to encounter unexpected obstacles that will make this operation more difficult than expected. While they originally believed cooperation and agreement by the Syrian government was essential, they didn't realize that the cooperation of the rebel groups would be harder to attain. Rebels don't believe destroying chemical weapons is the key to ending the civil war, and they are in control of many regions where the chemical weapons are located. Officials haven't currently decided to transport weapons out of the country before destroying them, but they are open to whatever options will make the operation the safest for all involved.
Oct. 11, 2013