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Syria has one week

According to a copy circulated by the State Department, Syria is expected to “submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.”

The pursuit of such information so quickly may be ambitious, particularly since prior to recent days, Mr. Assad had refused to admit to the international community that his government was even in possession of such weapons.

While there was suspicion about the Russian motivations behind the deal, some observers said Moscow would not have agreed to such parameters without confidence that Mr. Assad will comply.

“I can’t believe that the Russians are doing this unless Assad is at least nodding his head,” said Mr. Landis. “And that’s what America is counting on, that Russia is going to want to look like a powerful player here and that means that they can get their allies to deliver.”

The agreement, meanwhile, calls for the complete “removal and destruction” of Syria’s chemical weapons by the “first half of 2014.”

It remains to be seen how international weapons inspectors will achieve the objective, since it will require them to expediently navigate the very volatile landscape of a civil war that has been raging inside Syria over the past two years.

In addition to the alleged use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to Mr. Assad last month, the conflict has resulted in more than 100,000 deaths.