Weapons sites destroyed in Syria, OPCW says

Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A U.N.-backed weapons inspection team in Syria said Wednesday equipment was destroyed at six chemical weapons sites disclosed by Damascus.

Syria Monday became the 190th party to join an international treaty banning chemical weapons. It submitted its instrument of accession following pressure from the U.S. and Russian governments.

A team of U.N. weapons inspectors said the nerve agent sarin was used as a weapon of war during an August attack that killed an estimated 1,400 people, though the team wasn't mandated to assess blame.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said chemical weapons were used "on a relatively large scale" in August and were delivered by surface-to-surface rockets.

Inspectors with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said Wednesday its inspectors were able to visit 11 sites chemical weapons sites disclosed by the Syrian government. The OPCW said its activity in Syrian "included critical equipment destruction at six sites as well."

The OPCW said in an operational update Friday it was making "good progress" in verifying the information handed over by the Syrian government. It said it had about 60 people on the ground conducting inspections inside the country.

"Cooperation with the United Nations in support of OPCW mission in Syria has been excellent and the morale of the Joint Mission teams remains high," the organization said Wednesday.

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