Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction: Update 28

The expedition of protestors that set sail to meet the Cape Ray on Friday, July 25, was forced to return on Saturday, July 26, due to adverse weather conditions in the Meiterranean. This actually only fueled their concerns of the maritime Syrian chemical agents neutralization process as the high waves they faced were likely hitting the Cape Ray as well. Protestors cited the unpredictability of maritime weather and the potential impact on safety on board the Cape Ray.

Fresh chemical agent destruction statistics were released on Monday, July 28, by the OPCW. As of this date 48.6% of Category 1 (504.2 metric tons out of 1,038.5) and 24.6% of Category 2 (65.2 metric tons of 254.17) have been destroyed thus far on board the Cape Ray and at all land-based facilities. This brings the total to 43.8% of Syrian chemical agents destroyed (566.7 metric tons of 1,292.7) in slightly under a month of processing. One must recall that this includes about 120 MTs of isopropanyl, which was neutralized in Syria, and does not specify which chemicals were destroyed at which sites. It also does not take into account the need for second-stage processing for all the neutralized chemicals (mustard agent DF) on board the Cape Ray.

After the announcement by the OPCW-UN Joint Mission that an agreement had been made concerning the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons production facilities, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made a statement durging Syrian cooperation. He urged “the Syrian Arab Republic to continue its efforts towards the full elimination of its chemical weapons program at the earliest possible opportunity, including the resolution of any possible outstanding issues related to its initial declaration.” In addition he also mentioned his remaining concerns of alleged Syrian armed forces use of chemical agents in the continued conflict in the nation. The UNSC “strongly condemn[ed] any such use by any party to the conflict. I trust that those found responsible will be brought to justice,” he warned, stressing that the violence must stop. The OPCW has not yet released the specific agreement on the 12 former production facilities.