(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Just a little more than a week after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to seize Syria’s chemical weapons, a team of international inspectors on Sunday began overseeing the process of destroying the stockpiles.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is on the ground in Syria to make sure President Bashar al-Assad’s regime follows through on surrendering the toxic arsenals that are believed to be located at 20 sites around the country.
It wasn’t clear which site members of the OCPW were visiting Sunday but according to a statement, the task, which will be handled by the Syrians themselves, will involve destroying “missile warheads, aerial chemical bombs and mobile and static mixing and filling units.”
The entire operation, expected to last into the middle of 2014, will be complicated by weapons sites located in combat zones. Syria remains in the midst of civil war against rebel forces determined to overthrow Assad.
There’s some optimism that Syria’s cooperation in this matter will help spur peace talks to end the 31-month conflict. The two sides have been invited to participate in possible negotiations tentatively scheduled for late November in Geneva.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN