LATEST: State Media: 7 Killed, 55 Wounded By Homs Car Bomb

The Assad regime has blamed Western countries for the impending failure to meet a June 30 deadline for the handover of all chemical weapons.

Deputy Foreign Minister Feisal Mikdad met the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Sigrid Kaag, on Wednesday. He said that Syria had “treated this matter with utmost transparency”, but the West had caused delay with “constant attempts to politicize” the issue.

The Assad regime agreed last autumn to give up its chemical weapons, following its attacks near Damascus on August 21 that killed more than 1,000 civilians.

About 8% of the stocks are still inside Syria, held at an army base about 40 miles northeast of Damascus.

Syrian authorities say they have been prevented by fighting in the area from transporting the chemical weapons safely to the Mediterranean port of Latakia, where the stocks would be loaded onto international ships for destruction.

According to State news agency SANA, Kaag expressed satisfaction “over what was achieved and the great success in terms of Syria honoring its commitments”.

State Media: 7 Killed, 55 Wounded By Homs Car Bomb

State news agency SANA reports that seven people were killed and 55 injured by a car bomb in the Wadi al-Zahab neighborhood of Homs.


Insurgents Appeal for International Support Against ISIS in Deir Ez Zor

The Free Syrian Army has called on international supporters for assistance to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria.

“The Supreme Military Council calls on all friendly and brotherly Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the U and Jordan, to give aid to the brigades on the ground in Deir Ez Zor Province so they can confront the terrorist ISIS organization,” the FSA said in its statement.

ISIS, insurgents, and Kurdish militias have fought across eastern Syria since early this year.

Frontlines have shifted, with all sides claiming victories across almost 300 km (185 miles) of territory, but activists said on Wednesday that ISIS had encircled Deir Ez Zor city.

“They have surrounded the city. There are no entrances or exits left for people to flee,” said an activist in the region. The information was confirmed by a second activist who is based near the city.

Meanwhile, in Aleppo Province, an insurgent coalition announced a new offensive against ISIS.

The coalition said it would remove ISIS from the towns of Manbij and al-Bab. The Islamic Front claimed that four villages had already been taken.

Regime Hails Congratulations from US State Senator to Assad Over Re-Election

State media continues to promote President Assad’s nominal re-election last week, featuring messages of congratulation from foreign statesmen.

Among those headlined on State news agency SANA this morning are cables from the leaders of Myanmar and Abkhazia; however, the most distinctive is a letter from Richard Black, a State Senator in Virginia.

Black drew attention last month when the regime published his praise of a “heroic” Assad, thanking the President and Army for “rescuing” Christians in its Qalamoun offensive.

See Syria Special: The US State Senator Who Thanked Assad

The State Senator told Assad in his latest note:

Your country was once a pearl for stability, religious harmony and civilization….Your election stirs hope for those who dream of restoring glory Syria has been enjoying.

Any one shouldn’t ignore those elections….They were a main step towards achievement of world peace and an indication that time has come to yield to the Syrian people’s will.

Before his foray into international politics, Black was best known for controversial views on gender, abortion, and gay and lesbian rights.