UN chemical arms inspectors start field missions

    By IANS,

    Damascus : The UN chemical experts Sunday started their first field visits in Syria, a source told Xinhua.

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    The source, who asked not to be named, said the experts started Sunday their first field trips but stopped short of giving further details about their destination.

    Meanwhile, the Lebanese Al-Manar TV said the team of UN inspectors, which had been dispatched to Syria to help destroying its chemical arsenal in accordance with a new UN resolution, started the process of destroying the chemical stockpiles of Syria.

    The team, comprising experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN, said in a statement last week that it had made “encouraging initial progress” in Syria.

    The team arrived in Syria Tuesday and held meetings with Syrian foreign ministry officials before starting Sunday their ground work to find and dismantle an estimated 1,000 tonnes of chemical arsenal in Syria.

    The UN Security Council has ordered the OPCW to help Syria destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014.

    It had given the inspectors about nine months to complete their task. In a week, the OPCW mission will be expanded with the arrival of more investigators.