A plethora of mass media sources from Syria reported the killing of hundreds of civilians by a chemical weapon in August 2013 in hostile territory. This incident was framed as “the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s.”
The incident sprung other nations into action and investigations emerged regarding the utility of chemical weapons. United Nations investigators researched the area for a period of two weeks in Syria and returned August 31st. An emergency meeting was conducted by the UN Security Council on August 21st to review the ramifications of the attacks. The Council previously held divided views on Syria and the recent attacks have yet to bring unity within the Council. Citizens, within and outside of Syria, blame the international community for failing to protect their communities. Believing that the Assad regime initiated the attacks, some states have stated that a “red line” was crossed and this has prompted talk of military retaliation.
In recent developments, Russia submitted plans regarding the safety of Syria’s chemical weapons to the US according to Russian media. There was no opposition from Syria. The submission prompted President Obama to put a pause on military action and purse diplomacy.
“I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions,” posited President Obama.
Obama believes that Russia’s submission of the plan and Syria admitting to the charge of possessing chemical weapons is a good start, but instructed the military to remain in case diplomacy is unsuccessful. France also agreed to keep its army ready.
“It’s too early to tell whether (the Russian plan) will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments” said President Obama. “But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.”
Supported by Chapter seven of the UN charter, France issued a draft resolution that said force will be used if Syria did not meet its obligations. The resolution placed a 15-day deadline on Syria to disclose all information regarding its chemical weapons. Moscow disagrees with this resolution and this has sparked heated debate.
Russia views the draft resolution as unacceptable because it places blame with the Syrian government. Russia is instead pushing for a non-binding declaration to obtain support.
The death toll has reached over 100,000 since the initial uprising in 2011 against President Assad. War crimes, rape, and torture are rampant in Syria according to UN rights experts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favors some form of punishment for the use of chemical weapons and believes that all chemical weapons should be detained from Syria.
A meeting will be held in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to talk about the proposal and its ramifications. According to BBC’s Daniel Sandford, “There appears to be disagreement between the Russians and the Syrians over whether the weapons should be destroyed.” Sandford says, “The Syrians are eventually likely to concede the point and allow the arsenal to be destroyed because the Russians will argue that is the only way to gain broader acceptance of the plan.”
The Syrian army has been attempting to retake the Christian town of Maaloula. The army recently succeeded in overtaking the town according to Syrian media. BBC’s Middle East editor disproves this information and reports that fighting is still occurring.
SOURCE: BBC News