Nov 01, 2013

    Syria destroys weapon facilities


    SYRIA has destroyed all its declared chemical-weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament programme, the international chemical-weapons watchdog said in a document seen by Reuters.

    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in the document that its teams had inspected 21 of 23 chemical-weapons sites across the country.

    The remaining two were too dangerous to inspect, but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites which experts had visited, it said.

    "The OPCW is satisfied that it has verified, and seen destroyed, all declared critical production/mixing/filling equipment from all 23 sites," the document said.

    Under a Russian-American brokered deal, Damascus agreed to destroy all its chemical weapons after Washington threatened to use force in response to the killing of hundreds of people in a sarin attack on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug 21.

    The United States and its allies blamed President Bashar Al-Assad's forces for the attack and several earlier incidents. Mr Assad has rejected the charge, blaming rebel brigades.

    Under the disarmament timetable, Syria was due to render unusable all chemical-weapons production and filling facilities by today - a target it has now met.

    By the middle of next year, it must destroy its entire stockpile of chemical weapons.