Standler's Essays on Syria & Iraq:
Chemical Weapons in Syria
Peace Negotiations for Syria
U.S. Government response to ISIL

Copyright 2014-2016 by Ronald B. Standler

Introduction

By way of introduction, I was educated as a physicist (Ph.D. 1977), was a professor of electrical engineering for ten years, and I have been an attorney in Massachusetts since 1998. I have been interested in science and public policy since the 1960s, and I sometimes post at my website essays that preserve historical details on some topic.

There has been a civil war in Syria since March 2011 that diplomats have been unable to stop. On 8 Sep 2013, I decided to collect and preserve some of the historical details of the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and the futile peace negotiations for Syria.

While the principal purpose of this webpage is to provide an annotated list of my essays on the civil war in Syria, I also include:
I had intended to quit writing on Syria at the end of June 2014, when all of the declared chemical weapons had been removed from Syria, and peace negotiations were not feasible for the foreseeable future. But the capture of Mosul, Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on 10 June 2014 — as well as the declaration of the Islamic State's caliphate on 29 June 2014 — changed the Western view of the insurgency in Syria. In June 2014, I began including historical details about Iraq in my contemporaneous essays on Syria.

My essays on Syria and Iraq focus on four topics:
  1. chemical weapons: use and removal
  2. futile peace negotiations for Syria
  3. the response of the U.S. Government to ISIL in Iraq and Syria
  4. the dysfunctional Iraqi government (beginning June 2014)

Standler's Essays on Syria & Iraq

As of 5 April 2016, my 29 essays include more than 9352 links to news stories and documents, and total 2908 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
  1. My first essay on Syria covers dates from 8 Sep 2013 to 5 Oct 2013, and chronicled the history of: My first essay contains 190 links to news stories and documents, and 62 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  2. My second essay about Syria covers dates from 6 Oct 2013 to 31 Dec 2013, and chronicled the history of: My second essay contains more than 495 links to news stories and documents, and 129 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  3. My essay for January 2014 chronicled the history of: My third essay contains more than 315 links to news stories and documents, and 89 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  4. My essay for February 2014 chronicled the history of: My fourth essay contains more than 270 links to news stories and documents, and 101 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  5. My essay for March 2014 chronicled the history of: My fifth essay contains more than 185 links to news stories and documents, and 59 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  6. My essay for April 2014 chronicled the history of: My sixth essay contains more than 235 links to news stories and documents, and 75 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  7. My essay for May 2014 chronicled the history of: My seventh essay contains more than 195 links to news stories and documents, and 90 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  8. My essay for June 2014 continues coverage of Syria and begins to cover Iraq. My eighth essay chronicled the history of: My eighth essay contains more than 345 links to news stories and documents, and 89 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  9. My essay for July 2014 chronicled the history of: My ninth essay contains more than 320 links to news stories and documents, and 82 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary. (The daily news from Iraq for 28 July 2014 mentions Obama called ISIL "junior varsity" terrorists in January 2014.)

  10. My essay for August 2014 chronicled the history of: My tenth essay contains more than 460 links to news stories and documents, and 142 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  11. My essay for September 2014 chronicled the history of: My eleventh essay contains more than 345 links to news stories and documents, and 148 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  12. My essay for October 2014 chronicled the history of: My twelfth essay contains more than 275 links to news stories and documents, and 86 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  13. My essay for November 2014 chronicled the history of: My thirteenth essay contains more than 185 links to news stories and documents, and 63 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  14. My essay for December 2014 chronicled the history of: My fourteenth essay contains more than 205 links to news stories and documents, and 61 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  15. My essay for Jan 2015 chronicled the history of: My fifteenth essay contains more than 290 links to news stories and documents, and 84 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  16. My essay for Feb 2015 chronicled the history of: My sixteenth essay contains more than 310 links to news stories and documents, and 87 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  17. My essay for March 2015 chronicled the history of: My seventeenth essay contains more than 360 links to news stories and documents, and 81 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  18. My essay for April 2015 chronicled the history of: My eighteenth essay contains more than 240 links to news stories and documents, and 86 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  19. My essay for May 2015 chronicled the history of: My nineteenth essay contains more than 400 links to news stories and documents, and 101 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  20. My essay for June 2015 chronicled the history of: My twentieth essay contains more than 285 links to news stories and documents, and 102 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  21. My essay for July 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 21th essay contains more than 455 links to news stories and documents, and 121 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  22. My essay for August 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 22th essay contains more than 368 links to news stories and documents, and 109 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  23. My essay for September 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 23th essay contains more than 354 links to news stories and documents, and 123 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  24. My essay for October 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 24th essay contains more than 585 links to news stories and documents, and 142 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  25. My essay for November 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 25th essay contains more than 368 links to news stories and documents, and 108 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  26. My essay for December 2015 chronicled the history of:
    My 26th essay contains more than 375 links to news stories and documents, and 113 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  27. My essay for January 2016 chronicled the history of:
    My 27th essay contains more than 270 links to news stories and documents, and 113 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  28. My essay for February 2016 chronicled the history of:
    My 28th essay contains more than 287 links to news stories and documents, and 116 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  29. My essay for March 2016 chronicled the history of:
    My 29th essay contains more than 385 links to news stories and documents, and 146 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
During 27 May to 10 June 2014, I revisited the topic of why the Geneva2 negotiations failed during Jan/Feb 2014 and wrote a 20-page review that summarized what was in my first eight essays and added some new information. The "transitional governing body" (TGB) mentioned in the Geneva1 Communiqué is flawed: (1) no one from Syria attended the Geneva1 meeting and (2) the situation in Syria changed before the negotiations began, so we no longer need a transitional government in Syria. I also discuss the problems in finding a suitable political opposition to negotiate with the lawful government of Assad. I conclude that the Syrian National Coalition is unworthy to lead Syria, but in 2014 there was no other acceptable political opposition to Assad.

Since July 2011, President Obama and two U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, have been declaring that Assad had lost his legitimacy to lead Syria. My document collects more than thirty quotations of their dogma about Assad. In mid-2013, when Islamic terrorists hijacked the Syrian civil war, the USA could not partner with Assad in fighting Islamic terrorism, because of this dogma.

My essays for August and September 2014 give a contemporary account of how and why the USA became involved in wars in Iraq and Syria that are expected to persist at least until 2017, and possibly beyond the year 2035.


Links to Documents on Syria

To assist students, I provide links to some difficult-to-find documents on the Syrian civil war.

Table of Contents I have posted copies of some of the public-domain (i.e., noncopyrighted) historical documents at my personal website, rbs0.com  . (In April 2015, when I was revising this collection of links, I noticed that webmasters at government and U.N. websites had already deleted some historical documents from the years 2012 and 2013. The United Nations website was unable to download documents to readers from 16 May 2014 until January 2015, which was an additional reason to post copies of U.N. documents elsewhere.)

Friends of the Syrian People

Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, proposed "Friends of the Syrian People" one-day meetings of foreign ministers that began on 24 Feb 2012. These foreign ministers are all opposed to the Assad regime in Syria.
  1. Chairman's Conclusions in Tunisia, 24 Feb 2012   (copy)   (copy)
  2. Chairman's Conclusions in Istanbul, 1 April 2012 (copy) (copy)
  3. Chairman's Conclusions in Paris, 6 July 2012   (copy)
  4. Chairman's Conclusions in Marrakech, Morocco, 12 Dec 2012 (copy at rbs0.com)
  5. Communiqué in Rome, 28 Feb 2013
  6. Working Group on Sanctions Communiqué in Ottawa, 25 June 2013   (PDF)
  7. Chairman's Statement in New York City, 26 Sep 2013 (on sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting)
The Friends of the Syrian People "Core Group" of eleven nations — Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the USA — became known as the "London11" at a meeting in London on 22 Oct 2013. At the end of each one-day meeting, a Communiqué was issued, which I have downloaded, edited to make a smaller HTML file (while accurately preserving all text of the Communiqué), and posted at my website, rbs0.com:
  1. Core Group Statement in Istanbul, 20 April 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  2. Core Group Statement in Amman, Jordan on 22 May 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  3. Core Group Communiqué in Doha, Qatar on 22 June 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  4. London-11 Communiqué in London on 22 Oct 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  5. London-11 Communiqué in Paris on 12 Jan 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  6. London-11 Communiqué in London on 15 May 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  7. Friends of Syria Ministerial Communiqué in New York City on 25 Sep 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  8. London-11 Communiqué in London on 10 Nov 2014, copy at rbs0.com

Coalition Against ISIL (beginning Sep 2014)

  1. Kerry/Hagel statement sidelines of NATO meeting (5 Sep 2014)

  2. Jeddah Communiqué (11 Sep 2014), copy at rbs0.com

  3. "International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq," Paris Communiqué (15 Sep 2014), copy at rbs0.com

  4. Joint Statement Issued by Partners at the Counter-ISIL Coalition Ministerial Meeting, Brussels, (3 Dec 2014),   copy at rbs0.com

  5. Counter-ISIL Coalition meeting in London (22 Jan 2015), U.K. press release, copy at rbs0.com

  6. Small Group meeting in Jordan (8 April 2015), Readout.

  7. Counter-ISIL Coalition meeting in Paris (2 June 2015), Declaration of the Co-Chairs, copy at rbs0.com

  8. Small Group meeting in Québec City (30 July 2015), Canada.

  9. "Statement by the Members of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL: The Coalition at One Year," Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in New York City, U.S. State Dept, 28 Sep 2015.

  10. "Leaders' Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism," White House, 29 Sep 2015.

  11. Small Group meeting in Belgium (4 November 2015), U.S. State Dept.

  12. Meeting of Defense Ministers of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the USA in Paris (20 Jan 2016). Joint Statement at USA;   Netherlands;   Australia.

  13. Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL in Rome (2 Feb 2016). Statement at USA.

  14. Meeting of 28 Defense Ministers in Brussels (11 Feb 2016). Statement at rbs0.com

Links to U.N. General Assembly documents

United Nations General Assembly Resolutions are nonbinding, and generally insignificant. Here are the General Assembly Resolutions on the Syrian civil war, as of 4 Oct 2015:
  1. Resolution A/RES/66/176 (19 Dec 2011).
  2. Resolution A/RES/66/253A (16 Feb 2012).
  3. Resolution A/RES/66/253B (3 Aug 2012).
  4. Resolution A/RES/67/183 (20 Dec 2012).
  5. Resolution A/RES/67/262 (15 May 2013).
  6. Resolution A/RES/68/182 (18 Dec 2013).
  7. Resolution A/RES/69/189 (18 Dec 2014).

Links to U.N. Security Council documents

United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Syria:
  1. Resolution S/RES/2042, supporting Kofi Annan's 6-point plan (14 April 2012).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  2. Resolution S/RES/2043, deploys U.N. observers in Syria (21 April 2012).

  3. Resolution S/RES/2059, renews U.N. mission in Syria for 30 days (20 July 2012).

  4. Resolution S/RES/2118, for destruction of chemical weapons (27 Sep 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  5. Resolution S/RES/2139, for humanitarian aid in Syria (22 Feb 2014).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  6. Resolution S/RES/2165, repairs defects in Resolution 2139 (14 July 2014).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  7. Resolution S/RES/2170, condemns ISIL & Al-Nusra Front (15 Aug 2014).

  8. Resolution S/RES/2175, protection of civilians in armed conflict, etc. (29 Aug 2014).

  9. Resolution S/RES/2178, condemns ISIL and Nusra Front (24 Sep 2014).

  10. Resolution S/RES/2191, renews humanitarian aid under Resolution 2165 (17 Dec 2014).

  11. Resolution S/RES/2199, condemns sale of oil by ISIL and Nusra (12 Feb 2015).

  12. Resolution S/RES/2209, chlorine gas in Syria (6 Mar 2015).

  13. Resolution S/RES/2235, Asks who released chemical weapons in Syria? (7 Aug 2015).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  14. Resolution S/RES/2249, Calls on all nations to "take all necessary measures" to fight against ISIL. (20 Nov 2015).

  15. Resolution S/RES/2253, ISIL & Al-Qaida Sanctions (17 Dec 2015).

  16. Resolution S/RES/2254, endorses ISSG (18 Dec 2015).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  17. Resolution S/RES/2258, renews humanitarian aid under Resolution 2165 (22 Dec 2015).

  18. Resolution S/RES/2268, endorses Russia/USA draft cessation of hostilities agreement (26 Feb 2016).   Copy at rbs0.com.

United Nations Security Council Presidential Statements are legally nonbinding. Statements are issued when there is a strong consensus, but one permanent member vetoes a draft resolution. Other times a Statement is issued to express a consensus when no one needs to be commanded to do something. Here are some of the Presidential Statements on Syria:
  1. S/PRST/2011/16 (3 Aug 2011).

  2. S/PRST/2012/6 (21 March 2012).

  3. S/PRST/2012/10 (5 April 2012).

  4. S/PRST/2013/15 "appalled at the unacceptable and escalating level of violence" in Syria (2 Oct 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  5. S/PRST/2015/10 "expresses grave alarm" at humanitarian crisis in Syria (24 April 2015).

  6. S/PRST/2015/15 (17 Aug 2015) (Endorses de Mistura's efforts.).   Copy at rbs0.com.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 (22 Feb 2014) — and later Resolutions 2165 and 2191 — require the Secretary General to submit monthly reports to the Security Council. These relatively unbiased reports chronicle what is happening in Syria, including political and military developments, human rights, and delivery of humanitarian aid:
  1. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/208 (24 Mar 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  2. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/295 (23 Apr 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  3. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/365 (22 May 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  4. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/427 (20 June 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  5. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/525 (23 July 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  6. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/611 (21 Aug 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  7. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/696 (24 Sep 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  8. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/756 (23 Oct 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  9. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/840 (21 Nov 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

    No report issued in December 2014.

  10. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/48 (22 Jan 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  11. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/124 (19 Feb 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  12. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/206 (23 Mar 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  13. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/264 (17 Apr 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  14. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/368 (22 May 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  15. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/468 (23 June 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  16. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/561 (23 July 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  17. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/651 (20 Aug 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  18. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/698 (10 Sep 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  19. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/813 (22 Oct 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  20. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/862 (11 Nov 2015)

  21. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/962 (11 Dec 2015)

  22. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2016/60 (21 Jan 2016)

  23. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2016/156 (18 Feb 2016)

  24. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2016/272 (23 Mar 2016)


Links to Geneva Negotiations

  1. Geneva1 Communiqué of 30 June 2012, by The Action Group for Syria.   U.N.;   U.N. Geneva.   Copy at rbs0.com.

  2. United Nations Geneva2 (22 Jan 2014 to 15 Feb 2014)
  3. United Nations Geneva3 (29 Jan 2016 to ??).
The U.N. Secretary General's first Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, resigned because of frustration on 2 August 2012. Annan's eloquent resignation speech is posted at U.N.;   The Telegraph;   and rbs0.com

The U.N. Secretary General's second Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, resigned because of frustration on 13 May 2014. The Secretary General's announcement of Brahimi's resignation and a brief speech by Brahimi are posted at U.N.

The United Nations Office at Geneva has posted a collection of press releases by the office of the Secretary General's Envoys for Syria (i.e., Brahimi and de Mistura) from 22 Aug 2013 to the present.

Full-text of statements from the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) that met on 30 Oct 2015, 14 Nov 2015, and 11 Feb 2016 are posted at rbs0.com

Full-text of agreements on a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria are posted at rbs0.com

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 required the Secretary General to submit one report: S/2016/152, (17 Feb 2016).

Links to Chemical Weapons in Syria

In 2013, the U.N. Secretary General commissioned Prof. Åke Sellström to investigate whether chemical weapons had been used in Syria. There are two reports:
  1. Report on use of Sarin at Ghouta on 21 Aug 2013, 41 pp. (13 Sep 2013).   Also at S/2013/553

  2. Final Report on use of nerve gas in Syria, 82 pp. (12 Dec 2013).   Also at S/2013/735

OPCW Executive Council original schedule for destruction of chemical weapons in Syria (15 Nov 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

The monthly reports on chemical weapons in Syria from OPCW to the U.N. Security Council:
  1. OPCW First Monthly Report, S/2013/629 (28 October 2013).

  2. OPCW Second Monthly Report, S/2013/700 (27 November 2013).

  3. OPCW Third Monthly Report, S/2013/774 (27 December 2013).

  4. OPCW Fourth Monthly Report, S/2014/52 (27 January 2014). (first delivery of chemical weapons from Syria)

  5. OPCW Fifth Monthly Report, S/2014/133 (27 February 2014).

  6. OPCW Sixth Monthly Report, S/2014/220 (26 March 2014).

  7. OPCW Seventh Monthly Report, S/2014/300 (25 April 2014).

  8. OPCW Eighth Monthly Report, S/2014/368 (23 May 2014).

  9. OPCW Ninth Monthly Report, S/2014/444 (26 June 2014). (final delivery of chemical weapons from Syria)

  10. OPCW Tenth Monthly Report, S/2014/533 (25 July 2014).

  11. OPCW Eleventh Monthly Report, S/2014/622 (25 August 2014).

  12. OPCW Twelfth Monthly Report, S/2014/706 (26 September 2014). (OPCW/UN Mission in Syria ended 30 Sep 2014.)

  13. OPCW 13th Monthly Report, S/2014/767 (27 October 2014).

  14. OPCW 14th Monthly Report, S/2014/853 (28 November 2014).

  15. OPCW 15th Monthly Report, S/2014/948 (26 December 2014).

  16. OPCW 16th Monthly Report, S/2015/56 (26 January 2015).

  17. OPCW 17th Monthly Report, S/2015/138 (25 February 2015). (includes three fact-finding reports from 2014)

  18. OPCW 18th Monthly Report, S/2015/211 (25 March 2015).

  19. OPCW 19th Monthly Report, S/2015/295 (28 April 2015).

  20. OPCW 20th Monthly Report, S/2015/391 (28 May 2015).

  21. OPCW Monthly Report for June 2015, S/2015/485 (26 June 2015).

  22. OPCW Monthly Report for July 2015, S/2015/572 (29 July 2015).

  23. OPCW Monthly Report for Aug 2015, S/2015/668 (27 Aug 2015).

  24. OPCW Monthly Report for Sep 2015, S/2015/737 (24 Sep 2015).

  25. OPCW Monthly Report for Oct 2015, S/2015/820 (26 Oct 2015).

  26. OPCW Monthly Report for Nov 2015, S/2015/908 (24 Nov 2015) (6.6 Megabyte PDF file includes three fact-finding reports on Syria.).

  27. OPCW Monthly Report for Dec 2015, S/2015/1049 (29 Dec 2015).

  28. OPCW Monthly Report for Jan 2016, S/2016/85 (28 Jan 2016) (3.1 Megabyte PDF file includes 25 Jan 2016 fact-finding report on a dozen incidents in Syria during 2014.).

  29. OPCW Monthly Report for Feb 2016, S/2016/196 (26 Feb 2016).

OPCW Fact-Finding Mission on Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

  1. On 16 June 2014, OPCW issued the first report from its Fact-Finding Mission, which covered 3 May to 31 May 2014. S/1191/2014.

  2. The 10 Sep 2014 Report and 18 Dec 2014 Report are not publicly available from OPCW. However, all three fact-finding reports are publicly disclosed in a 116-page letter from nine nations to the U.N. Security Council, at S/2014/955 (30 Dec 2014). Later, these three fact-finding reports were also included in the OPCW monthly report for February 2015.

  3. OPCW issued three fact-finding reports on 29 Oct 2015, which are included in the OPCW monthly report for November 2015. The OPCW Technical Secretariat assigned report numbers, however these three reports are not publicly available from OPCW:
    1. S/1318/2015, inconclusive results from Jober on 29 Aug 2014.

    2. S/1319/2015, chlorine in Idlib during March 2015 to May 2015.

    3. S/1320/2015, sulfur mustard in Marea on 21 Aug 2015.

Who Used Chemical Weapons in Syria?

On 7 August 2015, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2235 established an OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). This Resolution led to the following documents:
  1. 27 Aug 2015 Letter from the U.N. Secretary General proposing a three-man committee, plus technical experts to do the forensic and chemical work. S/2015/669

  2. 9 Sep 2015 Letter from the U.N. Secretary General responding to Russian objections. S/2015/696

  3. 10 Sep 2015 Letter from president of the U.N. Security Council approving the Secretary General's plan. S/2015/697

  4. 9 Nov 2015 Letter from the U.N. Secretary General saying that the JIM would be "fully operational" on 13 Nov 2015. S/2015/854.

  5. First Report of JIM, 12 Feb 2016.

Links to U.N. Reports on Human Rights in Syria

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has a Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in Syria, which has written Reports. (See the "DOCUMENTATION" section of the Commission webpage, and also see the "All documents..." link at the bottom of that section.) See also the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights webpage on Syria.

On 10 March 2015, The Syrian Center for Policy Research posted a report on the damages during four years of the Syrian civil war, titled "SCPR Alienation and Violence Report 2014", SCPR.   Copy at ReliefWeb;   UNRWA;   UNDPI.org.

Death Toll in Syria

From
18 Mar 2011
Until
Total
Dead
Death
Rate
Death Rate
per 30 days
Citation
15 Nov 2012 39,112 SOHR
...
31 Aug 2013 110,371 SOHR
30 Sep 2013 115,206 4835/30 days 4835/30 days SOHR
30 Oct 2013 120,296 5090/30 days 5090/30 days SOHR
1 Dec 2013 125,835 5539/32 days 5193/30 days SOHR
30 Dec 2013 130,433 4598/29 days 4756/30 days SOHR
31 Jan 2014 136,227 5794/32 days 5431/30 days SOHR
14 Feb 2014 140,041 3814/14 days 8173/30 days SOHR
31 Mar 2014 150,344 10,303/45 days 6869/30 days SOHR
18 May 2014 162,402 12,058/48 days 7536/30 days SOHR
8 July 2014 171,509 9107/51 days 5357/30 days DailyStar
20 Aug 2014 180,215 8706/43 days 6074/30 days GlobalPost
30 Nov 2014 202,354 22,139/102 days 6511/30 days SOHR
31 Dec 2014 206,712 4358/31 days 4217/30 days SOHR
31 Jan 2015 209,395 2683/31 days 2596/30 days SOHR
5 Feb 2015 210,060 SOHR
28 Feb 2015 213,407 4075/28 days 4366/30 days see below
14 Mar 2015 215,518 2111/14 days 4524/30 days SOHR
14 Apr 2015 220,271 4753/31 days 4600/30 days SOHR
31 May 2015 229,312 9041/47 days 5771/30 days see below
8 June 2015 230,618 SOHR
30 June 2015 234,468 5247/30 days see below
5 Aug 2015 240,381 5913/36 days 4928/30 days SOHR
31 Aug 2015 244,431 4830/31 days 4674/30 days see below
30 Sep 2015 248,650 4219/30 days 4219/30 days SOHR
15 Oct 2015 250,124 SOHR
31 Oct 2015 252,865 4215/31 days 4079/30 days SOHR
30 Nov 2015 257,047 4182/30 days 4182/30 days SOHR
31 Dec 2015 261,931 4633/31 days 4483/30 days see below
31 Jan 2016 266,611 4680/31 days 4529/30 days SOHR
22 Feb 2016 271,138 SOHR
29 Feb 2016 272,300 4802/29 days 4968/30 days see below
14 Mar 2016 273,520 SOHR
/days /30 days
/days /30 days
/days /30 days

Source: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Sometimes the SOHR posts a death toll only in its Arabic-language webpages, and then I cite a news source for a translation into the English language. Beginning February 2014, more information may be available in my essays.

From 1 February 2014 to 31 March 2014, there were 14,117 dead in 59 days, which corresponds to an average death rate of 7178 dead/30 days. From 1 February 2014 to 18 May 2014, there were 26,175 dead in 107 days, which corresponds to an average death rate of 7339 dead/30 days. As shown in the table, the death rate peaked in early Feb 2014 at 8173/30 days. This high death rate may have been caused by intense fighting before the Geneva2 negotiations ended on 15 Feb, as each party tried to capture as much territory as possible, prior to a possible ceasefire. It is ironic that peace negotiations may have caused a killing spree.

From August 2014 through December 2015, the SOHR sometimes posted only a monthly death toll, not the cumulative death toll since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011: On 1 Jan 2015, the SOHR announced that 76021 had died in Syria during 2014. Adding that number to the death total announced for 30 Dec 2013 gave a new total of 206,454, which implies 4100 for the month of December 2014. But on 8 Jan 2015, the SOHR announced that 4358 had died during Dec 2014, an increase of 258. There is no explanation for this small discrepancy. I decided to use the greater number in the above table, because these death tolls are known to be smaller than the actual number. On 7 Feb 2015, SOHR released a new cumulative death toll from March 2011.

my estimates for cumulative totals
to end of a month in 2015

The SOHR issued a cumulative death toll of 210,060 dead from the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011 until 5 Feb 2015. Then SOHR said 4075 people died during February 2015, an average rate of 145/day. Interpolating, approximately 3347 people died in the 23 days between 6 Feb 2015 and 28 Feb 2015. That means approximately 213,407 people died during the Syrian civil war from the beginning in March 2011 to 28 Feb 2015.

On 1 June 2015, the most recent death toll published by SOHR since the Syrian civil war began on 18 March 2011 was for the interval that ended on 14 April 2015: at least 220,271 dead. SOHR. The death rate during April 2015 was 4458/30 days, which is 149/day. From 15 April to 30 April at the rate of 149/day gives an approximate total of 2384. Adding 2384 during the last half of April plus 6657 during May to 220,271 gives a new total of 229,312 dead from the beginning of the civil war in March 2011 through 31 May 2015.

The SOHR reported 230,618 dead from 18 March 2011 through 8 June 2015. A total of 5247 people died in Syria during June 2015, for an average rate of 175/day. During 9-30 June (22 days) at 175/day gives an approximate total of 3850. Adding 3850 during 9-30 June to 230,618 gives a new total of 234,468 from the beginning of the civil war in March 2011 through 30 June 2015.

The SOHR reported 240,381 dead from 18 March 2011 through 5 Aug 2015. A total of 4830 people died in Syria during August 2015, for an average rate of 156/day. We can estimate that 780 people died during 1-5 Aug 2015. Adding 240,381 and 4830, then subtracting 780 gives a new total of 244,431 from the beginning of the civil war in March 2011 through 31 Aug 2015.

For the end of the month totals for 30 Sep 2015 through 30 Nov 2015, I simply added the monthly total reported by SOHR to the cumulative total at the end of the previous month.

There are two ways to obtain a 31 Dec 2015 cumulative total:
  1. I added the cumulative total for 31 Dec 2014 to the 55,219 dead during the year 2015 that was reported by SOHR, to obtain a new cumulative total of 261,931.
  2. I added the cumulative total for 30 Nov 2015 to the 4633 dead during Dec 2015 that was reported by SOHR, to obtain a new cumulative total of 261,680.
These two new cumulative totals are remarkably similar. I used the higher of the two values, because SOHR admits their data are less than the actual number of deaths.

my estimates for cumulative totals
to end of a month in 2016

To obtain the end of the month cumulative total for January 2016, I simply added the 4680 dead during January 2016, reported by SOHR, to my estimated cumulative total for 31 Dec 2015.

The SOHR reported 4802 dead during the 29 days of February 2016. That is an average of 166/day. As mentioned in the table above, SOHR reported a cumulative total of 271,138 dead up to 22 Feb 2016. So for the 7 days from 23 to 29 February, there were probably 166 × 7, or 1162 dead. Adding 1162 to 271,138 gives a new cumulative total of 272,300.   But notice that cumulative totals for 29 Feb and 31 Jan 2016 show that 5689 (i.e., 272,300 minus 266,611) people died during February 2016, when the SOHR data show that only 4802 people died. Either the cumulative total on 31 Jan 2016 is too low, the cumulative total on 29 Feb 2016 is too high, or the number of people who died during Feb 2016 is higher than 4802. This small discrepancy — 887 dead in February — illustrates the uncertainity in death tolls in Syria.



Delivery of Chemical Weapons
by Syria to OPCW

Delivery Nr. Date Priority 1 Total Delivered
1 7 Jan ? 3%
2 27 Jan ? 4%
3 10 Feb 5% 11%
4 26 Feb ? ?
5 28 Feb ? 26%
6 7 Mar ? 29%
7 9 Mar 23% ?
8 14 Mar ? ?
9 17 Mar ? 46%
10 20 Mar 35% 49%
11 ? Mar ? ?
12 4 Apr ? ?
13 10 Apr ? ?
14 13 Apr 57% 65%
15 16 Apr ? ?
16 18 Apr ? ?
17 22 Apr 89% 86%
18 24 Apr 96% 92%
19 23 June 100% 100%

Sources: see citations in my essays on Syria.   On 21 April 2014, I sent an e-mail to the OPCW Media Office asking for the date of the 11th delivery, but there was no reply.

OPCW Deadlines

Action Deadline Date Status
Declare all chemicals 27 Oct 2013 PASS
Deliver all priority 1 chemicals 31 Dec 2013 FAIL: zero delivered
Deliver all chemicals 5 Feb 2014 FAIL: 4% delivered
Destroy all production facilities 15 March 2014 FAIL
Deliver all chemicals 27 April 2014 FAIL: 92% delivered
Destroy all chemicals 30 June 2014 FAIL

Sources of deadlines:
  1. The 27 Oct 2013 deadline for declaring all chemical weapons is in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, Annex I, ¶(1)(b) (27 Sep 2013).

  2. The 31 Dec and 5 Feb deadlines for delivery of chemical weapons are in OPCW document EC-M-34/DEC.1, ¶2(a) (15 Nov 2013). U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, §7, requires compliance with these OPCW deadlines.

  3. The 15 March deadline for destruction of all production facilities is in OPCW document EC-M-34/DEC.1, ¶2(b) (15 Nov 2013).

  4. After Syria failed to meet the OPCW deadlines for delivery of its chemical weapons, on 21 February 2014 Syria proposed modified deadlines. After some negotiation with OPCW, on 26 Feb, the revised deadline for delivery of all chemical weapons was 27 April.

  5. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, §(1)(c), requires "complete the elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014" (i.e., on or before 30 June 2014).
In April 2014, in my sixth essay on Syria, I predicted that, after all of the chemical weapons were destroyed, no one would care that Assad substantially missed deadlines for delivery of his declared chemical weapons.


Copyright 2014-2016 by Ronald B. Standler
this document is at   http://www.rbs0.com/syria.htm
first posted 2 April 2014, revised 5 April 2016

Go to my HTML webpage on Iraq.

return to my homepage