U.S. urges Syria to divulge details of nuclear program

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration urged Syria on Thursday to come clean about its past nuclear research as well as its chemical arsenal, accusing President Bashar Assad of blocking access to facilities linked to a Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007.

The top U.S. diplomat to the International Atomic Energy Agency said Syria’s two-year-old civil war was no excuse for its failure to answer questions about its alleged nuclear program, which Western intelligence officials believe was on a path toward making nuclear weapons.

Israel divided on best action to take in response to Syria

JERUSALEM – Israel’s diplomatic and defense establishment appears to be divided over the best course of action to take on Syria, security analysts and former military commanders said Thursday.

It has been no secret that some of Israel’s political leaders and generals were initially disappointed that President Obama sought congressional approval for missile strikes, saying it showed weakness. But now, many Israelis have begun to identify some advantages in a Russia-brokered diplomatic deal to secure Assad’s stores of chemical weapons, especially if it succeeds.

Syria signs onto convention banning chemical weapons

UNITED NATIONS – Syria says it became a full member of the convention banning the use of chemical weapons Thursday but the United Nations says it will take at least another 30 days.

Bashar Ja’afari said he presented the secretary-general with “the instrument of accession” to the Chemical Weapons Convention after President Bashar Assad signed a legislative decree earlier Thursday declaring Syria’s approval to join the treaty. But U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said “Syria will become a member 30 days after its instrument of accession is deposited.”

– From news service reports