Joint U.N. team begins destruction of Syrian chemical weapons

A joint team of United Nations and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspectors announced on Sunday that it began overseeing the process of dismantling and destroying Syria's chemical weapons production program.

The team oversaw Syrian personnel who used angle grinders and cutting torches to disable or destroy various items related to the program. According to the OPCW, the items included mixing and filling equipment, aerial bombs and missile warheads.

The inspectors from the OPCW and the U.N. are verifying, monitoring and reporting on Syria's compliance with international demands to destroy chemical weapons production facilities and chemical weapons stockpiles.

In September, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that called for the quick implementation of procedures to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program and stringently verify the destruction. The resolution underscored that no party in Syria should transfer, retain, stockpile, acquire, produce, develop or use chemical weapons.

In discussions with authorities, the OPCW and U.N. emphasized that it was the responsibility of the Syrian government to meet the distribution and verification deadlines set forth in the resolution.

The OPCW said the destruction process would continue in the coming days. Ahmet uzumcu, the director of the OPCW, planned to brief the organization's member states and the OPCW Executive Council on Tuesday.