Chemical Weapons Disarmament Team Arrives In Syria
A team of chemical weapons experts has arrived in Syria, where they will begin the long and complicated task of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal. Under a plan endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, the weapons are to be destroyed by next June.
Syria is wracked by a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people and forced more than 2 million others to flee the country, according to recent U.N. figures.
The experts from the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to meet with Syria's foreign minister later today, the AP reports.
The OPCW team enters Syria one day after a U.N. inspections team departed. Led by Ake Sellstrom, that team had earlier concluded that poisonous sarin gas had been used in Syria in an Aug. 21 attack that left hundreds dead — a report that prompted a U.S.-Russia agreement to rid Syria of the weapons.
The U.N. team had returned to Syria for about a week to examine claims of at least six other chemical weapons attacks in Syria, spanning from March to August. It is due to present its final report on those incidents later this month.
As NPR's Parallels blog has reported, "dismantling a chemical weapons program is a laborious process."