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OPCW team expected to arrive in Syrian capital

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A team of international disarmament experts is expected to arrive in the Syrian capital Damascus to begin destroying the country’s chemical arsenals.

The team of 20 inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive on Tuesday to implement a UN resolution that called for the elimination of the Arab country’s arsenals.

The Hague-based OPCW team arrived in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Monday to cross into Syria.

The arms monitors will first visit the Syrian Foreign Ministry to discuss operation logistics before verifying the sites and making assessments.

The team will then destroy the equipment used for mixing and preparing chemical weapons, and the munitions used to deliver them.

Under the US-Russian deal, the OPCW team should finish the work by November. Some arsenals will be eliminated safely and destroyed outside Syria, while others will be destroyed inside the country.

On Monday, the UN team of chemical weapons inspectors left Syria after wrapping up their investigation into the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus.

The team is expected to present the final report over the incident by late October.

On September 14, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria must account for its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week and see them eliminated by the middle of 2014. Syria has agreed to the deal.

The UN Security Council on September 27 unanimously approved a resolution to avert a US-led military strike against Syria. The resolution condemned the use of chemical weapons in the country and called for their elimination.

Syria has already supplied a list of its chemical weapons and facilities and is due to provide further details by October 4.

Washington had threatened to take military action against Syria over an unsubstantiated claim that the Syrian government had been behind the Damascus attack.

Syria strongly rejected the allegation, saying the attack had been carried out by the foreign-backed militants to draw in military intervention.

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