OPCW-U.N. chemical weapons team begins work in Syria

The joint team comprised of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations finished its first working day on Wednesday in its project to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

The team began working together with Syrian authorities to secure the sites where the team will operate. The OPCW-U.N. team is also starting to consider the environmental and health hazards they may confront as part of the process.

Planning continues for one of the team's first tasks, disabling chemical weapons production facilities in Syria. The team is also discussing the size of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and engaging in long-term planning to meet deadlines unanimously imposed by the U.N. Security Council and the OPCW's Executive Council.

In discussions with authorities, the team stressed that it was the responsibility of the Syrian government to meet both verification and destruction deadlines. The OPCW and the U.N. reiterated that the mission will provide needed technical support to help Syria reach the deadlines.

One of Syria's indicators of compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolution will be meeting the regular chemical weapon reporting requirements.

On Friday, the OPCW announced the beginning of the process to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program.