Deal Represents Turn for Syria; Rebels Deflated, New York Times
Both sides in Syria’s civil war see the deal to dismantle President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles as a major turning point. It left rebels deflated and government supporters jubilant. And both sides say it means the United States knows Mr. Assad is not going anywhere anytime soon.

How the United States, Russia Arrived at a Deal on Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Washington Post
According to a State Department official’s account of the negotiations that began Thursday evening and ended Saturday afternoon with a framework accord to secure and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, it was a deal that almost did not happen.

Inside White House, a Head-Spinning Reversal on Chemical Weapons, Wall Street Journal
This account of an extraordinary twenty-four days in international diplomacy, capped by a deal this past weekend to dismantle Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile, is based on more than two dozen interviews with senior White House, State Department, Pentagon and congressional officials and many of their counterparts in Europe and the Middle East. The events shed light on what could prove a pivotal moment for America’s role in the world.

UN Inspectors Turn in Report on Syria’s Chemical Weapons, CNN
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received the inspectors’ report on the August poison gas attack outside Damascus on Sunday, the United Nations announced. Ban is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the report in a closed-door session Monday morning–and two diplomats told CNN the report is likely to be released publicly at that time.

During Talks on Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Fighting on the Ground Escalated, Washington Post
As negotiations to avert a US strike against Syria ramped up last week, so, too, did the action on the ground. Warplanes dropped bombs over far-flung Syrian towns that hadn’t seen airstrikes in weeks, government forces went on the attack in the hotly contested suburbs of Damascus, rebels launched an offensive in the south, and a historic Christian town changed hands at least four times.

Assad Government Hails ‘Victory’ in Arms Deal, Troops Attack, Reuters
Syria’s government hailed as a “victory” a Russian-brokered deal that has averted US strikes. President Bashar al-Assad’s jets and artillery hit rebel suburbs of the capital again on Sunday in an offensive that residents said began last week when Obama delayed air strikes in the face of opposition from Moscow and his own electorate.

Kerry Seeks to Sell Syria Deal, Wall Street Journal
Secretary of State John Kerry set off on a globe-hopping mission in search of support, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of meetings with European and Middle Eastern allies in Paris on Monday.

Pentagon Insists US Troops Won’t Take Part in Syria Inspections, The Hill
The Pentagon is adamant that any effort to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile will not involve American troops. Keeping them secure will be a job for Syria’s military, Pentagon officials insist.


Syria: The Chemistry of Continuing Conflict, Fred Hof, Atlantic Council
Even if Bashar al-Assad’s regime permits this minuscule aspect of its war on Syrians to be excised, the regime terror that has killed more than 100,000, displaced some seven million, maimed, terrified, and traumatized countless more while swamping US allies and friends with refugees, will—unless the US and Russia intervene more broadly—continue as if nothing has happened over the past three weeks.

Diplomacy to the Rescue in Syria, R. Nicholas Burns, Atlantic Council
A huge collective sigh of relief from the White House, Congress, and Bashar Assad’s palace in Damascus was heard round the world earlier this week when the Russians came to the rescue. The unlikely savior—the cynical and calculating Vladimir Putin—seized the moment in the Syria quagmire by offering a lifeline of sorts to the struggling American and Syrian governments. The deal—Syria would give up the chemical weapons it vowed for decades it never had, and there would be no need for American air strikes.

A Win-Win-Win for Everyone (Except the Syrians), Fred Kaplan, Slate
It should be no surprise that US and Russian diplomats struck a deal to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons so quickly. Both nations had strong converging interests to do just that. Diplomacy becomes almost easy under those circumstances.

 Playing Poker with Putin: How to Win the Next Round in Syria, Edward P. Joseph, Foreign Affairs
After talks last week in Geneva between Kerry and Lavrov, the US dilemma on Syria has been replaced by a deal. In effect, Washington has traded the threat of imminent force (which it did not want to use) for Moscow’s promise to see that Syria surrenders chemical weapons (which Syria would be hard pressed to use again, anyway).

Threats of Force Don’t Always Help, Paul Pillar, National Interest
No matter how the next chapters of the Syrian chemical weapons story play out, a conclusion repeatedly being drawn from the story is that threats of military force work.

Painful Lessons–And Assad is Still There, Lord Michael Williams, The Independent
Since the gas attack in Ghouta, the West has struggled to find an adequate response. The UK government’s defeat on 29 August has long been overshadowed by a series of blunders and tactical errors which has left Russia, as The Economist, reports this weekend “behind the steering wheel.”

Nearly Half Rebel Fighters are Jihadists or Hardline Islamists, Says IHS Jane’s Report, The Telegraph
The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists-who would include foreign fighters-fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda.

Government Sources

Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons