[Ed. – “Strongly worded.”]
WASHINGTON — The White House tried to hold on to hope this week as its Syrian disarmament strategy falls apart, with Secretary of State John Kerry admitting Friday that the U.S. is leaning on Russia to urge Bashar al-Assad to come into compliance with Washington’s “red line” deal.
Less than 5 percent of the priority 1 chemical weapons in Assad’s stockpile, including agents like the nerve gas sarin, have been removed from the country and the regime appears to be making no effort to liquidate the rest as agreed.
That just includes chemical agents that the U.S. knows about, and wouldn’t include stockpiles that may have been scuttled off to Hezbollah or Iran for safekeeping as Assad negotiated a deal to avoid U.S. “red line” strikes.
“The international community is poised and ready to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons as soon as the chemicals have reached the Syrian Port of Latakia. It is the Assad regime’s responsibility to transport the chemicals to Latakia safely to facilitate their removal. And we expect them to meet their obligation to do so,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. …
When asked what happens if Assad doesn’t follow through, Carney wouldn’t wade into ultimatum territory.
“Well, again, they have obligation here. They have committed to doing this. This is a regime that refused to acknowledge that it possessed chemical weapons until a very short time ago and has now committed to not only acknowledging that it possesses the weapons, but moving them so they can be destroyed,” he said. ”And the United States and our partners in this effort will insist that Syria meet its commitments.”