NEW YORK – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will not
meet its deadline of December 31 for the removal of Bashar Assad’s deadliest
chemical agents from Syria.
The organization cited multiple factors for
the delay, “not least the continuing volatility in overall security
The OPCW also listed “inclement weather” as a contributing
“Due to technical difficulties, there will be a limited delay in
the transport of the first tranche of chemical agents from the Syrian Arab
Republic,” the spokesman for the secretary-general on the OPCW-UN Joint Mission
announced on Saturday.
The OPCW have classified chemical agents into two
categories, slating the most hazardous materials for swift destruction at
“The international effort to eliminate the chemical weapons program
of the Syrian Arab Republic continues to make effective progress, as
demonstrated by the steady achievements in meeting all previous milestones [in]
the past three months,” the statement read.
The executive council of the
OPCW will meet on January 8 to discuss progress of the project. In an earlier
statement, the organization reminded Assad that the “safe packaging, transport
and removal” of chemical arms is ultimately the responsibility of his
After brokering the original deal that forced Syria to
abandon its chemical arsenal, Russia and the United States agreed last month to
aid in the removal process.
In 2013, the OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize
as it prepared to rid Syria of its chemical weapons in September.
signing the Chemical Weapons Convention in August, Syria had the largest
stockpile of chemical weapons in the region and one of the largest in the world.