Watchdog examines Syria’s chemicals


Sun, Sep 22, 2013 - Page 1

The international chemical weapons watchdog was yesterday examining an initial accounting from Syria of its chemical arsenal, as part of a deal that headed off military action against Damascus.

The deal, spearheaded by the US and Russia, is to be enshrined in a UN resolution, but envoys are struggling to agree on the wording and were to meet for further talks on the text.

On the ground, a monitoring group said regime forces had killed 15 people, including women and a child, in a Sunni Muslim village in central Syria.

The Syrian opposition, which has been skeptical of the US-Russia deal, rejected an offer by Iran to broker talks, saying regime ally Tehran “lacked political credibility.”

Under the deal, yesterday was the tentative deadline for Syria to hand over details of its arsenal.

On the eve of the deadline, the The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is tasked with dismantling the arsenal, said it had received “an initial disclosure from the Syrian government of its chemical weapons program.”

A UN diplomat said the OPCW had received the Syrian declaration on Thursday.

The OPCW has postponed a meeting of its Executive Council set for today that had been due to discuss how to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program.