By C.N. Staff Writer
The White House says there is “compelling” evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its own people on Aug. 21, 2013, killing 1,429 people. In response to this alleged attack with chemical weapons President Obama has been on the forefront about discussing viable options the U.S. should take. While the idea of going to war has been floated around, Obama has said that the U.S. will consider a military strike, in addition to economic sanctions.
Strong Syrian ally, Russia and the U.S. set a deal that calls for revealing and destroying all of Syria’s chemical weapons by June 2014. On September 14th, the deadline Russia and the US set, Syria delivered documents about its arsenal of chemical weapons, but the country’s civil war is showing no sign of slowing down. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was committed to living up to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which calls for a ban on chemical weapons possession and production. Under a plan approved last week by the U.N. Security Council, Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles are to be fully destroyed by the middle of next year.
The civil war in Syria dates back to January 2011 when the so-called “Arab Spring” broke out in the neighboring Middle East county of Tunisia. Civilians in Tunisia began protesting against their government in retaliation to high levels of unemployment, corruption and political repression under their autocratic leaders. Through their protests and fighting they were able to topple their then-President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
Following Tunisia was Egypt and Lybia, who both saw their government structures topple, but not before many lives were shed in fighting. In March 2011, violence broke out in Daraa, Syria, after a group of children and teenagers were arrested for writing political graffiti. Dozens of people were killed when security forces cracked down on protesters. Fighting between government forces and rebels has killed more 100,000 and created 2 million refugees, half of them children.
The government initially responded to the protests by silently killing the protesters, activists and family members of those who were speaking out. They raped, tortured and killed them and threw their bodies in the street to scare people into submission. Further, the military began open firing on any protests that were taking place. Eventually the civilian population responded and began organizing and shooting back at the government and military. Further, defected members of the military began organizing against the government and eventually formed their own rebel group against the government.
Syrian officials are denying a civil war. “There is no civil war in Syria, but it is a war against terror that recognizes no values, nor justice, nor equality, and disregards any rights or laws,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said.
In the agreement, the United States and the Russian Federation decided that to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the UN, and other supporting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria.
Sarin is a liquid nerve agent that evaporates at the same sort of temperature as water. So in a hot dry country like Syria, it would be normally untraceable after just a few days.
Inspectors from the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in Damascus in the first week of October and spend a week in the city before starting visits to chemical weapons facilities declared by the Syrian government. If Syria does not live up to its commitment, it is likely to revive the threat of military action by the United States and its allies, heightening the stakes of any dispute. Minister Moallem said, “Syria is known for fulfilling its obligations and commitments; therefore, I assure you the Syria’s commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the convention.”