Last updated: 16 September, 2013

Syria chemical weapons plan to begin in days, says monitoring body

A US and Russian-inked programme to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons should begin “in a matter of days,” the watchdog tasked with implementing the plan said Monday.

“It is envisaged… that the programme to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria will be initiated in a matter of days,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement.

The Hague-based OPCW said that its experts “are already at work preparing a roadmap that anticipates the various challenges involved in verifying Syria’s declared stockpiles.”

The plan was thrashed out by Russia and the United States in Geneva at the weekend to avert US-led military strikes on Syria, which is accused by Washington of having killed hundreds of people in a poison gas attack near Damascus on August 21.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is to provide “on an expeditious basis” a complete inventory of its chemical weapons, production facilities, and “related materials” to the OPCW.

OPCW experts “will verify the accuracy of this disclosure with on-site inspections, and will also assist in putting into place arrangements to keep the warfare materials and the relevant facilities secure until their destruction.”