"Syrian troops have retaken a key rebel-held town south of Damascus, state media and activists say. State TV said the army had full control of Sbeineh and that "terrorists" had been driven out. UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sbeineh was one of the most important rebel positions near Damascus. Meanwhile, inspectors say they have verified one of Syria's two remaining chemical weapons production sites. Inspectors had already verified 21 out of 23 sites declared by Syria but two sites were too dangerous to reach. They said the latest site - near Aleppo - was verified using footage from sealed cameras and that it was dismantled and abandoned." BBC
As TTG wrote, the Syrian government is making steady progress in its campaign of pacification. The Saudis face deep humiliation in this latest example of their drive for Sunni triumphalism in the Levant. This project is decades long now and has had remarkably little success.
At the same time, the UN has gone competently forward in the work of eliminating CW production and weapons stockpiles. There is a certain amount of "logrolling" going on in Washington for the notion that Syria is somehow not living up to its undertakings in this matter. No evidence has been produced for public view so this is just more rumor. pl
The last time Kerry spent so much time over so many days with Netanyahu and Abbas was in July, when the two leaders agreed to enter direct peace talks for the first time in three years. More than three months later, after a dozen meetings between their teams, there are visible cracks in the negotiations. Both Netanyahu and Abbas warned early this week of growing tensions in the private discussions, and public potshots between the two sides have escalated. Speaking before a three-hour session with Kerry on Wednesday morning, Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of “continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to . . . run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace.” Washpost
Kerry is trying to make something out of nothing. The various parties to the Palestine dispute remain unwilling to create an actual and viable settlement of the matter. For some reason he does not understand that. pl