Eight Percent of Syria's Chemical Weapons Are 'Inaccessible'

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Syria has until June 30 to get rid of its stockpile of chemical weapons. The good news is, 92 percent of that job is done. The bad news is the remaining 8 percent is located in an area controlled by insurgents and thus inaccessible.

Since missing the April 27 deadline, there has been increased pressure on Syria to come up with the remainder of its 1,300 ton stockpile. Today, Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator of the joint mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, announced that there are 16 containers left to destroy, but they are located in an airfield near Damascus that government officials can't travel to safely. The airfield itself, Kaag made sure to point out, was secure. 

"There is a lot of fighting taking place," Kaag said of the roads leading to and from the airfield. "It's not a situation where you would want a chemical weapons convoy passing through." She has a point.

Kaag added that once access to the facility is obtained (Syria is working on securing the roads now, she said), it'll be a relatively simple and quick process to get rid the containers -- "less than a working week" -- so there is still time to make the June 30 deadline.

As for the reports that chlorine gas was used in a recent attack, a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Kaag said the OPCW was in Damascus on a fact-finding mission.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.