Report: U.S. Skeptical Syria Will Get Rid of Chemical Weapons Stockpile
Officials in the United States government, citing intelligence reports, say they are skeptical that the Syrian government will fully declare its chemical weapons stockpile, CNN reported Tuesday night.
The intelligence is not definitive but “there are various threads of information that would shake our confidence,” one U.S. official told the news outlet. “They have done things recently that suggest Syria is not ready to get rid of all their chemical weapons.”
CNN reported that officials said “the new intelligence is related to stockpile inventories and delivery systems, such as warheads and artillery shells – items that could preserve Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons again if it chose to. Officials believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will hold on to some of the chemical weapons largely as a long-term hedge against what he sees as a threat from Israel.”
“It strains credulity,” one official told CNN, to believe he will readily give up his entire chemical weapons program.
A U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said intelligence provided “indications the Syrians may be intending to hold some of their stockpile in reserve.”
The official said it was important that the international community keep the Syrian government’s “feet to the fire” in order to hold the regime accountable.
“This development is not surprising. … At this point, it’s not derailing the diplomatic process,” the official said.