MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – Syrians have destroyed a part of their chemical weapons stockpile under the supervision of the global chemical weapons watchdog, the UN said on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday agencies reported that experts from Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had reportedly begun dismantling the country's chemical arsenal.
“The process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons program began today,” the UN press service and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a joint statement.
“Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items. This included missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment,” the statement reads.
The process will continue in the coming days.
Last week, a group of 19 OPCW inspectors and 12 UN officials arrived in Syria. Its members are from Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, China, Canada, the Netherlands and Tunisia.
A military source in Damascus told RIA Novosti earlier on Sunday that 14 experts are expected to join the team next week, and the total number will reach 100 in three or four weeks.
Last week, the OPCW approved the US-Russian-initiated plan to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, and the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the plan.
The chemical weapons watchdog said in a statement it had agreed "on an accelerated program for achieving the complete elimination of Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014.”