Despite recent progress, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warns that efforts to catalog and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons face “exceedingly complex security challenges related to ensuring a safe operating environment at destruction sites.” The now-Nobel Peace Prize winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has called for a short ceasefire to allow their teams to safely operate. Meanwhile, two car bombs exploded in central Damascus over the weekend, only a few kilometers from the hotel where OPCW experts are staying.
Awarding the Nobel Prize to the anti-chemical weapons watchdog highlights the group’s efforts in Syria, and Kevin Lees concludes that the award “rightly shines a spotlight on an unheralded protagonist at a time when the OPCW’s work is far from complete.” Max Fisher reflects on the decision not to award the prize to famed Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, widely considered a frontrunner, and highlights a piece by Zeynep Tufekci commending the Nobel committee for highlighting a low-profile but vital international institution and not “but one courageous person.”
The NYT reports on the funeral of a regime soldier from a Syrian Alawite family and the increasing sectarian nature of the war, despite loyalists framing their fight as “defending the state”. Moral among some the regime’s western heartland appears high: “Grinning, one [soldier] declared [of a military death], ‘He’s a martyr, but the most important thing is that Syria is O.K.'”
What is Turkey’s role in the sporadic conflict between Syria’s Sunni opposition and Kurds?
‘Death to America’ chants challenge Iranian President Rouhani’s diplomatic push. Ali Gharib comments on Twitter that “the elite public convo over ‘death to America’ changes is actually quite remarkable.”
Colombia’s FARC has launched a new website dedicated to its female members (via Milena Rodban).