Watchdog: Syria destroys chemical weapons equipment

Syria has destroyed all of its equipment used to produce chemical weapons, according to the international chemical weapons watchdog. 

The Hague’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed in a statement Syria had met the Nov. 1 deadline to destroy the production equipment.

“The Joint Mission is now satisfied that it has verified — and seen destroyed — all of Syria’s declared critical production and mixing/filling equipment,” the OPCW said. 

Inspectors have inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared in Syria, and 39 of the 41 facilitates located at those sites, the statement continued. They did not visit the two remaining sites, however, because of safety and security concerns. 

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Syria claimed those last few sites had been abandoned and any of their production items had been transferred to inspected areas. 

Because the Syrian government has met its first deadlines, the OPCW said no further inspection activities are planned. 

The group’s executive council has until Nov. 15 to approve a plan Syria submitted that details the process to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.  

On Sunday, the OPCW said Syria handed over its official declaration and general plan last Thursday. 

Russia originally proposed the plan for Syria to rid its arsenal in early September in an effort to thwart the threat of a U.S. military strike on Syria. 

The Obama administration geared up to launch a military operation in response to an August chemical weapons attack that officials said killed more than 1,400 in the suburbs of Damascus. 

Syria agreed to Russia’s offer and joined the chemical weapons convention, which requires its government to transfer its chemical weapons to international control. 

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