|BBC: 330mm chemical rocket|
After a large barrage on August 21st killed upwards of 1400 people in the outskirts of Damascus, the United States threatened to use force against the Syrian government that it blamed for the attack [photo]. Russia, which supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad reached a last-minute agreement on September 14th with the US to disarm Syria of chemical weapons. The agreement lead to a unanimous Security Council resolution approving the US-Russian plan. Syria began acquiring the capacity to produce chemical weapons in the 1980's with the help of the Soviet Union. Some of the artillery and rocket canisters found by UN inspectors after the Ghouta attack bore Cyrillic markings indicating Soviet manufacture. The process of destroying all of those chemicals under civil war conditions will be a difficult and delicate task.