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Chemical weapons inspectors hail progress in Syria


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A team of international investigators says it is making good progress in its mission to inspect chemical weapons sites in Syria. A spokesman for The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Thursday that the team has visited nearly half of over 20 sites declared by the Syrian government. "We are on track. The team is confident, the morale is high and cooperation from the Syrian authorities has been forthcoming," said Malik Ellahi, special adviser to OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu. He stated that the experts have been "making good progress in making those sites inoperable" by destroying equipment and facilities. "In terms of the security situation there are always concerns, but the team so far has had the cooperation of the Syrian authorities and managed to conduct its work unimpeded," Ellahi added. "What we have verified so far has been according to the disclosure" of chemical weapons submitted to the OPCW by Damascus, Ellahi said. "We have not found anything of significance which we should be worried about." The OPCW team has until November 1 to inspect chemical weapons sites declared by Syria and to destroy or render unusable all chemical agent production and weapon filling facilities. The expert team in Syria is implementing a UN resolution on scrapping the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. The United Nations Security Council approved the resolution on September 27. On September 14, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal according to which Syria would have its chemical weapons eliminated and the US would in return not carry out planned strikes on the Arab country. The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million others displaced due to the violence. http://www.presstv.ir/



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