OPCW verifies toxic sites in Syria
Two additional sites declared by the Syrian government were too dangerous to reach.
AMSTERDAM - Global chemical weapons watchdog inspectors using footage from sealed cameras have verified one of two remaining sites declared by Syria, according to a draft document from the organisation seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, had already verified 21 out of 23 sites declared to the agency last month.
"The additional site inspected is in the region of Aleppo and was one of the two sites that could not be visited earlier due to safety and security reasons," the document said.
"As per the declaration by Syria, the site was confirmed as dismantled and long abandoned with the building showing extensive battle damage."
Syria has proposed destroying its stockpile outside the country because of ongoing fighting. More than 100,000 people have been killed and some 2.2 million people have fled during the 2-1/2-year civil war.
The progress comes after the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, suggested on Tuesday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad may not have disclosed its entire chemical weapons programme to the OPCW.
Under a Russian-American brokered deal, Syria agreed to destroy its entire stockpile of toxic nerve agents and munitions by mid-2014.
Syria declared 30 production, filling and storage facilities, eight mobile filling units and three chemical weapons-related facilities. They contained about 1,000 tonnes of chemical weapons, mostly in the form of raw precursors, 290 tonnes of loaded munitions and 1,230 unfilled munitions.
A Syrian delegation is at the headquarters of the OPCW this week to work out where and how to destroy roughly 1,000 tonnes of weapons it declared, a job it cannot do without significant foreign financing and support.