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LATEST:Syria agrees to give up chemical weapons

Updated: Thursday, September 12 2013, 03:26 PM CDT
SYRIA   --   Secretary of State John Kerry is in Switzerland this morning.
He is there for two days of negotiations with his Russian counterpart.
Kerry is expected to push them for more specifics on Moscow's proposal to inventory, quarantine and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

Secretary Kerry arrived here in Geneva to see if a deal is possible
He's meeting with the Russians to try and hammer out exactly how they would secure President Assad's chemical weapons

Syria has pledged to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and hand over its arsenal to international monitors for destruction.

It's a stunning turnaround for Assad, who in an interview with CBS on Sunday wouldn't even acknowledge he had these weapons

Assad Rose Intvw : "We don't say yes, we don't say no"
Then agreed to give them up on Monday.

<Assad Interview Today > Today, Assad told Russian state television he agreed because of Russia's offer, not because of the threat of US strikes

Obama Tuesday: "this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force"

For now President Obama has put that threat on hold saying he wants to give the diplomacy a chance.

In an op-ed in the New York Times today, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of the consequences of military intervention

"Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it," he wrote.
Any disarmament plan won't be easy either Experts say it will take time.

EXPERT: It will take weeks to get the inspectors in, months to secure and inventory the arsenal, and probably three to four years to actually
destroy all the weapons.

The challenge: verifying that Assad turned over his entire stockpile and doing it safely in the middle of a war.

For now, the Obama administration is cautiously optimistic they'll be able to agree to a plan with the Russians this week. As one senior US official
told reporters on the plane ride over here, "It's doable, but difficult and complicated"LATEST:Syria agrees to give up chemical weapons


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 

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