Following a statement this morning from Russia calling for Syria to abandon control of its chemical weapons in order to avoid a U.S. military strike, Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, said his country “would welcome the Russian initiative.” At a press conference this morning, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also urged Syria to transfer its chemical weapons to a safe place within the country where they can be destroyed.
Syria is said to have one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world, and Syrian opposition groups say President Bashar al-Assad has used them as many as 35 times. The stockpile is reportedly so large that U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power says Assad has “barely put a dent” in it.
Between Russia’s proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, the U.N.’s proposal to destroy them, and America’s proposal to use military strikes, the international community has not yet struck consensus on what to do. On Monday, the White House announced that 14 more countries signed a statement condemning Syria for the chemical attacks on Aug. 21 and urging ‘strong’ international action. The statement, however, does not go into specifics about what this action would look like.
On Monday, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof joined NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss the latest developments of the Syrian crisis and the Obama administration’s efforts to build a case for U.S. military action.