On Monday, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem issued an official statement acknowledging that the government does indeed possess chemical weapons but had not used them on civilians. In addition to this statement, Al-Moallem welcomed main ally Russia’s proposal to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control. The statement underlined safeguarding Syrian lives as the most important reason behind accepting the proposal in addition to averting United States’ plan to carry out air strikes on Syria. However, the regime did not specify when it would hand over its chemical arsenal. Viewed skeptically as a “stalling tactic” by the White House, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the US government would take a “hard look” at the most recent development.

Syria’s acceptance to place its chemical weaponary under scrutiny should be viewed as a turn taken in the right direction, as it indicates the regime’s willingness to cooperate with the international community and its growing concerns about civil war. However, one should remember that the agreement shown by the Syrian government does not vindicate its past actions against Syrian citizens including women and children and other non-combatants. It only reveals how terribly convoluted the situation in Syria is. In 2013 alone, more than 70,000 Syrians have been killed in the ongoing war. The death toll keeps increasing.

This decision also leads us to view the role of rebel forces in Syria critically. As locals in Ghouta have claimed, the rebel corps often receive armed support from foreign sources, including the United States and Saudi Arabia. Procuring ammunition from foreign sources that undoubtedly maintain their own multiple agendas in this war, the rebel forces openly exhibit extremist currents, that only harm innocent civilians crushed between an oppressive monarchy and a reckless insurgent movement.

The agreement shown by Syria and Russia to place chemical weapons under international control is viewed by the West with trite cynicism. In all of his six major broadcast interviews, Obama’s reaction to the new development can be collectively described as unconvinced. Conscious of receiving little support from Democrats and Republicans, and with reluctant lawmakers scowling at his military strike plans, Obama said that follow-up to any deal was necessary, but he was open to Syria and Russia’s offer. Ultimately, the Syrian regime’s openness to surrender its chemical weapons to international control is a positive step to deter Western intervention that would result in more casualties and even more chaos. But this doesn't mean Bashar can be let off the hook for the crimes against his own people.