6 October, the joint team of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations began the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons. Under the supervision of experts from the OPCW, supported by the UN, Syrian personnel started to destroy or disable a range of items, including missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment.
Also on 6 October, the OPCW said that a group of technical experts who were part of the advanced team that had been in Damascus since 1 October had returned to The Hague. The group held discussions with the Syrian authorities on the disclosure that Syria earlier provided to the OPCW on its chemical weapons programme. The Organization also announced that it will deploy a second team of inspectors to Syria to expand verification and destruction activities.
Meanwhile, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu briefed his organization’s Executive Council on 8 October on the progress of the OPCW mission on the ground.
Describing “a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process”, he said that the OPCW had received information from Syria that updated the initial disclosure on its chemical weapons programme. He also noted that Syrian officials had commenced destroying certain Category 3 (lethal) chemical weapons, as well as destroying or disabling a series of items with the goal of rendering unusable all production facilities and mixing and filling equipment by 1 November 2013.
In response to resolution 2118 (2013), by which the Security Council requested to receive within ten days recommendations on the UN’s role in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, the Secretary-General sent a letter to the Council on 7 October.
To achieve the timely elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons in the safest and most secure way possible, the Secretary-General proposed the establishment of a Joint OPCW/United Nations Mission comprising about 100 personnel, headed by a Special Coordinator. Within the Mission, the UN and the OPCW will operate in areas of particular competencies. The UN’s proposed role would entail providing overall coordination and liaison with the Syrian Government and opposition groups, security arrangements, logistics, information assessments, communications and administration. The Secretary-General noted that as the OPCW’s Executive Council decision requires the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by the first half of 2014, the planned deployment of personnel would have to be for less than a year.
Select UN stories
Too early to judge Syria’s response to call for immediate humanitarian access, says UN refugee agency
4 October 2013 – United Nations agencies are hoping to quickly gain more humanitarian access to the millions of people in Syria affected by the civil war raging there following the Security Council’s call to the Government to immediately allow aid deliveries across the frontlines.
UNHCR begins moving thousands of Syrian refugees to new camp in Iraq
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Palestinian refugee children return to school in Lebanon, aided by UN
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