How realistic is the idea of dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal?


Originally posted on National Post | News:

The Russian proposal to remove Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal has raised a raft of questions for politicians and disarmament experts alike. Damien McElroy answers some of them:

Does the outside world have an accurate picture of Syria’s chemical weapons?

Syria is believed to have large stocks of sarin, mustard gas and VX nerve agents. Paul Ingram, the executive director of the disarmament think-tank BASIC, points out that estimates of the extent of its arsenal varies widely among Western intelligence agencies, but experts believe it runs into the hundred of tons.

What is the current status of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal?

Syria has never signed a global treaty banning the storage of chemical weapons but the actual use of chemical weapons is banned by a 1925 treaty to which Damascus is a signatory. Damascus has never given an inventory of its stockpile. Any list that it is likely to produce…

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