Syria's Weapons Inspections Start Next Week

Security Council adopts resolution, though it doesn't include penalties

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 28, 2013 6:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – The first international inspectors will be on the ground in Syria Tuesday to start assessing the nation's chemical weapons, reports Reuters. The move is part of a UN resolution adopted unanimously last night by the 15-member Security Council demanding that Bashar al-Assad's illegal arsenal be destroyed. The AP sees it as a "landmark decision" and John Kerry calls it "strong, enforceable, precedent-setting," though it has one big caveat at Russia's insistence: No sanctions or military action will be triggered if Syria fails to comply. Instead, the council would have to vote on a second resolution spelling out the penalties.

GOP senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham quickly criticized the resolution, calling it "another triumph of hope over reality" because it "contains no meaningful or immediate enforcement mechanisms, let alone a threat of the use of force for the Assad regime's non-compliance." Still, it ends a deadlock of more than two years at the UN regarding Syria, notes the BBC. Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, headquartered at the Hague, hope to oversee the weapons' destruction by the middle of next year.

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nation Bashar Ja'afari, center, speaks to Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin before a Security Council meeting Friday.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Secretary of State John Kerry votes to approve a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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