World

What lies ahead for weapons inspectors

A look at the work of the international team charged with destroying Syria’s chemical weapons:

 Deadlines: Syria became a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Monday. By Oct. 27, it must submit a plan for the destruction of its stockpile. By Nov. 1, the inspectors must complete verification of the inventory and render production facilities unusable. By Nov. 15, they must adopt a plan for destroying the stockpile, aiming for completion by mid-2014.

 Arsenal: Experts believe Syria has about 300 metric tons of sulfur mustard, a blistering agent, and about 700 tons of the nerve agents sarin and VX. Much of the nerve agents are in precursor form, as separate components.

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 Sites: Ahmet Uzumcu, the head of the OPCW, said his team has visited five of at least 20 sites. Among the sites are four production facilities near the towns of Safira, Khan Abu Shamat, Homs, and Hama; six storage facilities near Safira, Homs, Hama, Furqlus, Latakia, and Palmyra; and a research and development site in Damascus.

 Dangers: Sixty OPCW inspectors and UN staff are on the ground, and the team is to grow to 100. The OPCW chief said one abandoned site was in rebel-held territory and routes to others led through it, preventing access. The rebels have not promised cooperation.

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SOURCE: Associated Press

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