OPCW, U.N. inspect chemical weapons sites in Syria

Three chemical weapons sites in Syria have been inspected by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons since Oct. 1.

The first group of OPCW investigators that was deployed to Syria worked to verify information that the Syrian government previously submitted about its chemical weapons program. Inspectors visited three sites over the last 10 days and additional investigations are planned at other sites in the near future.

"Never in the history of (OPCW) have we been called on to verify a destruction program within such short timeframes - and in an ongoing conflict," OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said. "We are conscious of the enormous trust that the international community has bestowed on us."

To help verify the information submitted by the Syrian government, additional OPCW and U.N. resources have been sent to the country. OPCW inspectors and U.N. support staff recently touched down in Damascus, Syria. There are now approximately 60 members working on the advance team in the country.

In addition, Syrian government officials have submitted additional and supplementary information on the country's chemical weapons program to the OPCW. The additional staff members are being used to verify that information.

OPCW officials also have supervised the demolition of a portion of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and a portion of the equipment the country previously used to produce chemical weapons.