UN Security council praises progress in Syria, backs joint chemical weapons mission
The UN Security Council praised progress in Syria to destroy the country's chemical weapons arsenal, according to AFP sources cited in Al-Arabiya.
The council's praise follows its decision Thursday to back a plan supporting a joint mission with the global chemical arms watchdog, Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to eliminate banned arms in Syria. UN leader Ban Ki-moon proposed the mission, and has said that up to 100 experts will be needed to carry out the operation successfully.
The Security Council sent a letter to the OPCW to formalize the cooperation for the proposed joint mission. The mission is expected to be approved Friday. Ban is expected to name the leader of the mission shortly.
In related news, the second team of OPCW international inspectors arrived in Damascus Thursday after the inspection team requested more ground support earlier this month, according to The Daily Star's report.
According to OPCW's spokesman Michael Luhan, twelve new inspectors arrived, bringing the total team to 27. The OPCW team plans to inspect twenty sites in the upcoming weeks, many of which are located in areas experiencing high levels of violence between rebel and pro-regime fighters. The inspectors are expected to complete their entire mission by mid-2014.