No Clear Means of "Securing" Syria's Chemical Weapons

Raging civil war, hidden arsenal, delicate devices...


As diplomats wrangled over competing plans for securing Syria's chemical weapons, arms-control experts warned Tuesday of the formidable challenges involved in carrying out such a complex and risky operation in the midst of a raging civil war.

U.N. teams dispatched to Syria for the mission would be attempting something new: finding and safeguarding a long-hidden arsenal in a country that has long stood outside key international arms-control agreements — all while exposed to crossfire from Syria's warring factions.

Although the mission might be worth the risks, experts say, it would be costly and time-
consuming, especially if the goal included the physical destruction of what is estimated to be thousands of chemical warheads and rockets as well as hundreds of tons of liquid toxins kept in bulk storage throughout Syria.