Weapons of Mass Destruction

Primary Sources

UN Report on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

The United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic submitted an investigative report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The "Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013" concludes that "chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children." On December 12, 2013, the final report on the investigation was released. It includes a timeline of events in Syria and actions of the UN and evidence that led to the conclusion that chemical weapons were used.

See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; International Organizations and Alliances

Primary Sources

The United States and Russia's Joint Framework for the Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons

Authors: John F. Kerry and Sergey V. Lavrov

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov developed a joint strategy to remove Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by "the first half of 2014." The agreement was reached on September 14, 2013, during the third day of their meeting in Geneva.


See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Primary Sources

Secretary Kerry's and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's Remarks on Syria, September 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva on September 12, 2013, to discuss the possibility of Syria handing over its chemical weapons to the international community. This approach was proposed as an alternative to a military strike as a response to the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Backgrounder

Sarin

Author: Zachary Laub

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from longstanding international practice, this Backgrounder explains.

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Primary Sources

President Obama's Address to the Nation on Syria, September 2013

President Obama spoke to the American public on September 10, 2013, about the U.S. government's response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. He requested Congress to delay its vote on the proposed military strike, in order to address Russia's proposal of Syria handing over chemical weapons to the international community.

See more in Syria; United States; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Treaties and Agreements

Must Read

The New Yorker: The Thin Red Line

Author: Dexter Filkins

"The Administration has given the Syrian opposition more than six hundred and fifty million dollars in nonmilitary aid, but Obama has consistently opposed arming the rebels or intervening militarily on their behalf. The United States has taken a tenuous position: not deep enough to please the rebels or its allies in Europe, or to topple the regime, or to claim leadership in the war's aftermath—but also, perhaps most important, not so deep that it can't get out."

See more in Wars and Warfare; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria