On Wednesday the head of the international watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal said that a team of 15 investigators had begun to visit sites and that the Syrian authorities have been “quite constructive” and “cooperative”. The Unites States and Russia agreed on completing the work by mid-2014. Meeting this deadline would depend on whether temporary cease fires could be arranged between government and opposition forces. Mr. Uzumcu, the director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, believes this goal can be reached if there is cooperation by all parties. Inspectors, supported by the United Nations, have already visited one site and are set to visit another on Wednesday. They are planning on visiting a total of 20 in upcoming weeks. These sites are the ones that have been identified by the Syrian government in a preliminary inventory of its chemical weapons program presented to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last month. American officials said last month that at least 45 sites were linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program. However the state department declined to say whether the decision by international inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons visiting 20 sites meant that Syria had not declared many of its chemical facilities. American officials have said that although the Syrian government’s preliminary inventory was more extensive than anticipated, it was not complete. The Syrian government is to submit a more formal declaration by October 27th which will be scrutinized for holes. Diplomats believe this will show them how serious Syria is about the matter.
How serious is Syria about getting this chemical weapons issue taken care of? Are they willing to do what they are being asked to do? The goal is to have all the sites looked at and taken care of by the middle of 2014. They have already started looking at these sites. However officials believe that Syria is not being completely honest and detailed about all their chemical weapons sites. They have a few more weeks to finish and submit a more formal declaration. This time if officials will be looking for the holes and what they choose to leave out. This is Syria’s chance to attempt to make things right. They have the opportunity to show the world that they are willing to do what they need to do so that Syria is not looked at as a threat anymore to their own people.