Rockets with the nerve agent sarin were fired in Syria, U.N. inspectors reported Monday, but they could not confirm who fired the weapons.
While inspectors said the rockets were fired near a Syrian military base Aug. 21, they didn't draw conclusions on which side used them.
The U.S., Britain and France jumped on evidence in the report — especially the type of rockets, the composition of the sarin agent, and trajectory of the missiles — to declare that President Bashar Assad's government was responsible. We speak with Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO, about the report and what impact it might have on U.S. and Russian efforts to put Syria's chemical weapons program under international control.
In a recent GlobalPost piece, Burns said while Assad's agreement to turn over chemical weapons was a messy one, it ultimately has more benefits than drawbacks:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the chemical weapons agreement may end up weakening Assad, not strengthening him. In the unforgiving and harsh political culture of the Arab world, chemical weapons gave Assad, like his father before him, a hedge against Israel's military superiority and the means to leverage his many foes inside and outside of Syria. Like Saddam and Qadhafi before him, Assad will soon discover the public humiliation of being forced by the outside world to give up an important symbol of his government's military power. This could translate into a loss of face for Assad personally. And in practical terms, Assad will lose some of his power to intimidate and to be feared.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.