Washington, Sep 30: Inspectors who will be overseeing Syria’s destruction of its chemical weapons have said their first priority is to stop the war-torn country’s ability to manufacture such arms using every means possible.
The chemical weapons inspectors said that the means that may include smashing mixing equipment with sledgehammers, blowing up delivery missiles, driving tanks over empty shells or filling them with concrete and running machines without lubricant so that they become inoperable.
According to Fox News, the U.N. Security Council had ordered the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to help Syria destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014.
On Sunday, inspectors met with media in The Hague to explain their current plan of action, which is to include an initial group of 20 leaving for Syria on Monday.
Syria acknowledged for the first time it has chemical weapons after a poison gas attack on August 21st killed hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb.
A U.N. investigation found that nerve gas was used in the attack, but stopped short of blaming it on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Timothee Germain, a researcher at the Center for International Security and Arms Control in Paris, who is not involved with the OPCW project, said that in the early phases of Syria’s civil war, chemical weapons were consolidated into a small number of sites in order to keep them from falling into the hands of rebels.
The investigators said members of the initial group of 20 will meet with counterparts from Syria’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday and begin planning.
After the initial phase of destroying Syria’s ability to manufacture weapons, the actual destruction phase will take far longer and be more expensive, a second expert said.
He added that at this stage there is no reason to doubt Syria’s commitment to destroying its weapons, adding that its disclosure was voluntary and credible, the report added. (ANI)