Syria chemical arms UN resolution could happen this week


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media about the conclusion of the U.N. inspectors' report on chemical weapons use in Syria after a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on September 16, 2013 in New York City.


Spencer Platt

A United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria could be passed as early as this week, if all five permanent members agree.

The United States and Russia have agreed to negotiate a deal to force Syria to abandon its chemical weapons.

While the UNSC debates the Syria resolution, chemical weapons inspectors are set to return to Syria on Wednesday to investigate chemical weapons attacks at Khan al-Assal, Sheikh Maqsoud and Saraqeb.

The team of inspectors is to investigate three earlier attacks, which made up their initial mandate.

There have been 14 alleged chemical attacks in Syria since the beginning of the conflict.

Last week, UN chemical weapons inspectors released a report confirming that sarin gas had been used to kill hundreds of people in the Damascus suburbs.

Though blame was not assigned, Western governments have pointed fingers at the Syrian regime.

The Syrian and Russian governments have disputed the claims, asking to see the evidence.

More from GlobalPost: France expects U.N. council to agree on Syria arms measure

On Tuesday, AFP reported the UN resolution on Syria could mention Chapter VII of the UN Charter which allows force or tough sanctions against Syria if the agreement is violated.

"Chapter VII can be mentioned only as an element of the measures against violators... if there is a refusal to cooperate, carry out obligations or if someone, it does not matter who, uses chemical weapons," said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

However, Reuters reported that Ryabkov had said earlier that his government opposes any threat of military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow has said it would oppose any resolution that could trigger punitive action against the Syrian government.

Russia has said that negotiations with the United States have been fraught with difficulty but progress was being made.

Ryabkov said when asked whether an agreement could be reached this week: "We hope so, but there is no guarantee."