Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons Begins

Syria has begun dismantling components of the country’s chemical weapons stockpile, announced the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Syrian personnel on Oct. 6 started destroying or disabling items like missile warheads, aerial bombs, and mixing and filling equipment, according to OPCW, which is monitoring the elimination process on the ground in Syria in support of the United Nations. OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said on Tuesday the Syrian government updated its initial disclosure on its chemical weapons stockpile two days before the destruction began. “These developments present a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process,” said Üzümcü in an Oct. 8 OPCW release. He said a second team of OPCW weapons inspectors would go to Syria to augment the team that has been there since the beginning of the month. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday credited the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad “for complying rapidly” thus far in the destruction process. “It’s a good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning,” he said during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bali, Indonesia. (Kerry transcript)