Chemical weapons watchdog verifies previously inaccessible Syrian site

AMSTERDAM Thu Nov 7, 2013 8:47am EST

United Nations (U.N.) vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), leave their hotel in Damascus October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

United Nations (U.N.) vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), leave their hotel in Damascus October 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Global chemical weapons watchdog inspectors using footage from sealed cameras have verified one of two remaining sites declared by Syria, the organization said on Thursday.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, had already verified 21 out of 23 sites declared to the agency last month.

Two sites were considered too dangerous to reach.

"The additional site inspected is in the region of Aleppo and was one of the two sites that could not be visited earlier due to safety and security reasons," the OPCW said in a statement.

"As per the declaration by Syria, the site was confirmed as dismantled and long abandoned with the building showing extensive battle damage," it said.

Syria has proposed destroying its stockpile at a location outside the country because of ongoing fighting. More than 100,000 people have been killed and some 2.2 million people have fled during the 2-1/2-year civil war.

DESTRUCTION TALKS

The progress comes after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, suggested on Tuesday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad may not have disclosed its entire chemical weapons program to the OPCW.

Under a Russian-American brokered deal, Syria agreed to destroy its entire stockpile of toxic nerve agents and munitions by mid-2014.

Syria declared 30 production, filling and storage facilities, eight mobile filling units and three chemical weapons-related facilities. They contained about 1,300 metric tons (1,433 tons) of chemical weapons, mostly in the form of raw precursors, and 1,230 unfilled munitions.

A delegation of Syrian officials on Wednesday began talks in The Hague, where the OPCW is headquartered, to work out a detailed destruction plan by November 15.

The discussions are based on the assumption the weapons will be shipped overseas for destruction, a source involved in the talks told Reuters on Thursday.

Syria cannot afford to pay for the expensive destruction process itself and has appealed for significant foreign financing and logistical support.

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by John Stonestreet and Elizabeth Piper)

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Comments (3)
Arnleif wrote:
Stop lying US.

-”The progress comes after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, suggested on Tuesday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad may not have disclosed its entire chemical weapons program to the OPCW”.

Now that is bold claim, which seems to contradict both the headline and most of the content of this article. US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, tries very clearly to create an image of an Assad trying to hide his WMD by using the word not disclosed all WMD sites.

As the article very clearly points out, Assad had revealed the sites, and OPCW was indeed aware of the sites. So no attempt of Assad to hide WMD here. What is also clearly pointed out in the article, is that the sites was inaccessible and too dangerous to reach due to safety and security reasons. Yes, the civil war creates limits as we all know, nor OPCW inspectors, Assad or the rebels can run around Syria and do what they want. Obvious to everyone but Samantha Power.

The claim made that US pressure somehow revealed more sites previous undisclosed, is obvious FALSE. So I suggest Reuters remove it, I would have found it rather embarrassing to make such a claim in an article that clearly contradicts it. As I was totally unaware of the content of what I was writing.

Nov 07, 2013 3:58am EST  --  Report as abuse
ItsMyOpinion2 wrote:
I rreall don’t care about the Chemical weapons agreement. It is good in itself but Assad is still killing his people with impunity and that is WRONG!

Nov 07, 2013 4:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
Arnleif wrote:
ItsMyOpinion2

You do know the meaning of the word “impunity” right? Or do you just repeat that rhetorical phrase like some faulty playback device?

Know this, the vast majority of people killed in conflicts all over the world. The people responsible for the conflict and killings are exempted from punishment. AND YES IT IS WRONG.

The rebels are also killing with impunity, and in no context is it more true than the countless wars waged by the US and other western countries against poor and defenseless nations.

So what is it with Assad you find so special, that he can not kill with impunity, when most others can?

yeah, as soon as you dismantle US claims and rhetoric, it surprisingly is not important at all.

A claim repeated by US before the Iraq war:

-The attack on Iraq rests on a single question. Will Iraq dismantle it`s WMD?

Now that was dismantled before the invasion, and all of a sudden it was all about democracy. Now what did you just do? The same as US government of course.

-There is a red line that can not be crossed.

If you can not see that one, you should ask North Korea for advice.

Nov 07, 2013 7:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
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