Indications Suggest Syria May Attempt to Hide Chemical Stash, U.S. Official Says

'Development is not surprising,' says official. 'At this point, it's not derailing the diplomatic process'

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The United States is reviewing intelligence suggesting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government may try to keep some chemical weapons instead of turning them all over for destruction, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Under a Russian-U.S. proposal, Syria agreed in September to destroy its chemical weapons program by mid-2014, averting a threat of U.S. missile strikes.

"There are indications the Syrians may be intending to hold some of their stockpile in reserve," the U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said it was important that the international community keep the Syrian government's "feet to the fire" to ensure that all Syrian chemical weapons are declared and destroyed.

"This development is not surprising. ... At this point, it's not derailing the diplomatic process," the official said.

A Shi'ite man holds a poster of Syria's President Bashar Assad during Eid al-Ghadir celebrations in Sanaa October 23, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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