But, don't tell Samantha Powers about this progress She is always on the prowl for some new way to free humans, anywhere, of their lives.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria could ship out its remaining chemical weapons within a month and still meet a mid-year target for their final destruction, the head of an international mission overseeing the delayed disarmament operation said on Friday.
Syria has accelerated the pace of chemical shipments from its Mediterranean port of Latakia this month and has now removed or destroyed more than half of its declared chemical arsenal.
Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said that Syria - which is embroiled in civil war - was making progress and its revised timetable was achievable.
"We think the current plan is realistic and workable," she told Reuters in an interview in Beirut. "However we have always been very clear in stating that the month of March remains very critical in order to attain the overall timetable."
She said the June 30 target for the destruction of the chemicals at sea was also realistic, especially if the current acceleration in consignments continued. "We don't exclude a further speeding up of the current pace."
Despite the delays, Kaag said Syrian authorities had displayed constructive cooperation "from the outset until now".
But the operation remains fraught with danger.
Last month Syria said there were two attempted attacks on convoys transporting chemical weapons, and two storage sites remain inaccessible due to the civil war which has killed 140,000 people and ravaged whole districts of Syrian cities.
Kaag said she could not say whether chemical sites had come under deliberate attack or were simply caught up by chance in the conflict which has affected every part of the country.
"What we know is that there is a heightened risk of any accident or incident," she said. "I've just come out of Latakia...and an hour after we'd arrived two rockets arrived on the same road I have taken. And there were civilian casualties."
Earlier this month five rockets were fired towards Latakia, one of them crashing close to a hotel where the UN-OPCW experts were staying. Elsewhere in Syria, two chemical sites are currently inaccessible because of the fighting.All that could be prevented... If the US and Israel wanted it to be so.
More good news from Syria- Nice to read after Israel so heinously attacked Syria this week
|Crac des Chevaliers|
Syrian troops captured a famous Crusader castle Thursday near the border with Lebanon after days of intense clashes with opposition fighters, the latest in a series of battlefield gains by government forces along the frontier, state media and officials said.
Lebanese broadcaster Al-Mayadeen TV aired live footage of Syrian troops raising the two-starred ( flag of Syria) government flag over the towering hilltop perch of the Crac des Chevaliers. The loud crackle of celebratory gunfire could be heard as troops moved around the sprawling fortress, which appeared intact.
But the government capture of the Crac des Chevaliers, which dates back to the back to the 12th century and dominates the surrounding valley and terraced hills, marked another painful setback, for symbolic reasons as much as strategic. Rebels had controlled the castle since 2012.
“Our efforts, those of the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces, were crowned today by raising the Syrian flag on the Crac des Chevaliers,” an unnamed Syrian army colonel told Al-Mayadeen. “The battle had been going on for more than a month during which several nearby villages were liberated.”