Syria Chemical Weapons Sites Being Dispersed, Reuters
An elite Syrian unit that runs the government’s chemical arms program has been scattering the weapons to dozens of sites across the country, potentially complicating US plans for air strikes.

Rebel Leader: Syria Moving its Chemical Weapons into Iraq, Lebanon, CNN
“Today, we have information that the regime began to move chemical materials and chemical weapons to Lebanon and to Iraq,” Gen. Salim Idriss said from inside Syria.

 UN: Assad Has Signed Chemical Weapons Decree, Al Jazeera
In a statement late on Thursday, the spokesman for the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said: “The secretary-general has today received a letter from the government of Syria, informing him that President Assad has signed the legislative decree providing for the accession of Syria to the Convention … on chemical weapons of 1992.

US, Russia See Syria Arms Deal Aiding Peace Talks, Reuters
Russia and the United States agreed on Friday to push again for an international conference aimed at ending Syria’s civil war as talks on removing chemical weapons raised hopes for broader negotiations.

Syrian Forces Executed 248 in Two Villages in May, Daily Star
Syrian regime forces executed at least 248 people in the villages of Bayda and Banias earlier this year, Human Rights Watch said Friday, calling for Damascus to be held accountable.

US Chemical Weapons Arsenal Highlights Complexities in Syria Disposal, Stars and Stripes
Three decades after the United States started destroying its own chemical weapons, the nation’s stockpile stands at more than 3,000 tons—about three times what the US now says Syrian President Bashar Assad controls.

In Turkey, US Soldiers Guard Against Syria Missile Threat, CNN
For the past eight months, close to 300 US soldiers have stood guard on a hillside overlooking one of Turkey’s largest cities, scanning the skies for the threat of missiles fired from nearby Syria.


Advice to President Obama on Syria, Fred Hof, Atlantic Council
Fred Hof gives four pieces of advice to President Barack Obama on what he should do about the Syria crisis.

President Obama’s Syria Confusion, Rajan Menon, Atlantic Council
President Barack Obama’s Tuesday evening speech explaining his plans for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, though deftly delivered, will not put to rest the doubts that a large majority of Americans have about what the president aims to achieve with what he insisted would be a limited, targeted operation.

Russia’s Syria Moves About Being Important Again, CNN: Global Public Square
Putin’s motivation to throw lifelines to Obama and al-Assad has less to do with US unilateralism, international law or the fate of Syria. It’s mostly about being important again.

Is Bashar Good for Moscow?, Michael Young, NOW Lebanon
Bashar al-Assad has so mismanaged internal affairs that he depends on Russian arms and diplomatic support, Iranian weaponry, and Hezbollah manpower to survive politically. He is increasingly irrelevant to Syria’s future, even if neither Russia nor Iran will let him cede power under rebel pressure, because this would bring the entire Syrian political and security edifice crashing down.

Why ‘This Town’ Loves Going to War, Leon Hadar, American Conservative
Hawkish journalists and “experts” have succeeded in setting the policy and legislative agenda so that any challenge to the idea of attacking Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is marginalized within Washington, and how that creates powerful pressure on the White House and Congress to “do something.”

The Damage Done, Lee Smith, Weekly Standard
Obama’s Syria blunders—his failure over two and a half years to see the conflict as an opportunity to advance American interests, his carelessly drawn red line over Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, his belated and half-hearted request for an authorization of military force from Congress, his unwillingness to make the case to the American people for striking Assad, and his turning Russia into the regional power-broker at the expense of the United States—call for a reckoning.

Vetting the Chemical Weapon Plan, Diana Esfandiary, National Interest
This deal looks almost impossible to achieve. But at the end of the day, if such a deal allows us to degrade even a portion of Assad’s chemical-weapons arsenal, then isn’t it worth pursuing?