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Local Expert: Syria must be monitored

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 10:03 PM EDT
ALBANY -- There are still two big questions unanswered following Syria's verbal commitment to hand over chemical weapons, said a UAlbany Rockefeller Institute official on Security and Emergency Preparedness.

According to Rick Mathews, Director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness, it will be up to the United Nations to make sure Syria follows through on their word to hand over chemical weapons to Russia. Mathews says the question of will they do that and the question of will the US still get involved in Syria still need to be answered.

Mathews says in the meantime Syria taking the step to admit they have weapons, and vowing to turn them over, could mean no conflict or war. The decision "seems to be a logical outcome", Mathews said.

"Absolutely the best outcome," Mathews said. "Anytime we don't have to do anything with our military it is a good outcome.'

Mathews believes the US will stay out of Syria, in the near future, while continuing to monitor the situation on stand by.

"As Reagan said 'trust but verify'," Mathews said.

If Syria follows through on their word and allows the UN in to inspect and collect its chemical weapons it will be a lengthy process, according to Mathews.
"This won't happen over just a couple of days, it will be a while to make sure they are not still around, they have been destroyed and no one has their hands on any parts of those (weapons)," Mathews said.

     Local Expert: Syria must be monitored

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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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