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Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, at the seventh meeting of the Syria Humanitarian Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 2013 (U.N. photo by Jean-Marc Ferré).

Syria’s Chemical Arms Destroyed, but Aid Effort Unravels

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Syrian war, currently overshadowed by its offshoot in Iraq, remains a ruinous blight on international diplomacy. Nearly half a year after the furiously hyped but fundamentally hopeless peace talks between the government and moderate rebels in Geneva, no end to the fighting is in sight. President Barack Obama has requested $500 million from Congress to train and equip rebel forces, suggesting that he is resigned to an extended proxy war with Russia and Iran, which continue to assist Damascus.

Yet while the Geneva talks petered out in February, remnants of international cooperation over Syria have survived. Moscow and Washington have continued to collaborate on their September 2013 agreement to dismantle President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile. The United Nations Security Council is, at least in theory, committed to getting humanitarian aid into the country, having unanimously passed a resolution in late February insisting on “safe, rapid and unhindered” delivery of relief supplies. ...

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