updated 9/27, 9:15 p.m.
The United States and Russia--with help from France--negotiated a deal that would compel Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. The measure was approved unanimously by the UN Security Council on Friday evening.
The deal includes enforcement language--under Chapter 7 authority of the UN charter-- but is not explicit on military action or other automatic penalties if Syrian leader Bashar al Assad does not comply.
Chapter 7 authority refers to a UN provision giving member countries the right to take military and non-military action to confront threats to peace and security.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power confirmed the resolution on Twitter.
Agreement reached w/Russia on UNSC Resolution legally obligating #Syria to give up CW they used on their people. Going to full UNSC tonight.— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) September 26, 2013
She also tweeted:
The draft UNSCR establishes that #Syria's use of CW is threat to international peace & security & creates a new norm against the use of CW.— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) September 26, 2013
"This is historic and unprecedented because it puts oversight of the Assad regime's compliance under international control and it's the first UNSCR to declare that the use of chemical weapons is a threat to peace and security " said a senior State Department official, NBC News reported. "Equally as important, it makes absolutely clear that failure of the Assad regime to comply will have consequences."
Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain called the resolution "another triumph of hope over reality," saying it would do nothing to "change the reality on the ground in Syria," that Assad will continue to slaughter his people, and that al Qaeda would increase its foothold in the country.
The goal is to have chemical weapons out of Syria by the middle of next year. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said a team would head to Damascus on Tuesday to begin inspections.
"Today's resolution will ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program happens as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency and accountability," he said.