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Syria Chemical Disarmament Team Begins Mission

Un experts

International disarmament experts began on Wednesday their mission to catalogue Syria’s chemical weapons under a deal that will see the arms turned over for destruction by mid-2014.

The 19-member team from The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.

Along with 14 UN staffers, they are staying at a Damascus hotel.

They set up a logistics base after arriving, but did not appear to have left the hotel by early Wednesday evening.

“In the coming days, their efforts are expected to focus on verifying information provided by the Syrian authorities and the initial planning phase of helping the country destroy its chemical weapons production facilities,” a UN statement said.

This should be completed by November 1, it added.

An OPCA official said, “We do not doubt the information provided by the Syrian authorities.”

President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria will comply with the UNSC resolution as it has already turned over, on September 19, documents detailing its chemical weaponry.

On Tuesday, a team of UN experts left Damascus after probing seven alleged chemical weapons attacks for a report expected to be released in late October.

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