The Corner

Syria to Miss First Chemical-Weapons Removal Deadline

A day before the deadline to remove 500 metric tons of its chemical weapons from the country, Syria has not yet begun to move its weapons stockpiles.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — the U.N. watchdog group in charge of the mission to transfer and destroy the weapons — said that Syria will not make tomorrow’s deadline. “At this stage, transportation of the most critical chemical material before December 31 is unlikely,” the OPCW said. The group cited a mix of insufficient security, bad weather, and logistical problems.

While Tuesday marks the first deadline for the physical movement of the weapons, it is not the first OPCW deadline missed: In October, the organization said that it could not inspect two of the 23 weapons sites because of security concerns, and the two sites went uninspected by the October 27 deadline.

According to the U.N. agreement, Syria is supposed to relinquish 500 metric tons of its most toxic chemical weapons by the end of the year and the rest of its stores, 700 tons’ worth, by early February.