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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Equipment Destroyed at 14 Syrian Chemical Arms Sites

RIA Novosti

00:22 22/10/2013

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – A team of international experts working on a mission to eradicate Syria's chemical weapons has destroyed critical equipment at 14 sites in the war-torn country, the global chemical weapons watchdog said Monday.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 11, and the United Nations currently have some 60 experts deployed in Syria.

The OPCW said the international team had conducted verification activities at 17 sites out of a total of 20 that are identified in Syria's disclosure.

According to OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu, experts intend to render all known chemical-arms-making facilities in Syria unusable by November 1 and destroy the entire chemical arsenal in the country by June 30, 2014.

The United States and some other countries accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's government of being behind an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that Washington said left more than 1,400 dead.

The Syrian government in turn accused the rebel groups it has been battling since March 2011 of being behind the attack, and agreed to a Russia-brokered deal to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by the middle of next year in order to avoid military action threatened by the US.

The joint team of OPCW chemical weapons experts and UN officials has been working in Syria since October 1.

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