Today’s Syria: Chemical weapons handover delayed again

Syria has missed another serious deadline on 5 February where the government said they were to hand over all their chemical weapons by then. The move has threatened the process set by international states and the Organization of Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The universal goal was to eventually destroy the stockpile by 30 June.

However, Syria’s ally Russia has backed the government and said there is a shipment coming. Russia states Syria will have their chemical weapons handed over by March.

Russia confirms both the Syria government and the opposition will be at the next round of peace talks in Geneva. The opposition is planning to meet in Egypt’s Cairo to decide who will be representing the group. An European Union official commented on the Geneva II talks, stating that it is the last chance for Syria.

A United Nations report details child abuse in Syria, that they have “been sexually abused in government detention, recruited to fight with the opposition, tortured and used as civilian shields.” The organization estimates 10,000 children have died in the three year conflict.

Barrel bombs have continued to hit on Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, killing dozens of citizens through governmental force air raids, according to reports. The Washington Post is reporting more than 700 have died in two weeks of attacks on Aleppo, in the two weeks after Geneva peace talks started. Numerous of Syrians are leaving Aleppo in hopes of escaping the constant barrel bombs.

“Aleppo is not the same Aleppo that it used to be. It’s a ghost town, it’s a town destroyed completely,” said Laith al-Halabi, 20, a citizen journalist who takes photographs of the aftermath of attacks.

Also just released this week is a video (viewer discretion advised) of the Syrian regime’s barrel bomb attacks on Daraya during the Geneva II peace talks. It is estimated by the Syrian Observatory that more than 2,000 have died since peace meetings have started. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says Assad’s barrel bombs is his “last barbaric act.”

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