Security sweeps start in Syria, prep for UN team visits
Security sweeps have begun in Syria at the sites expected for inspection by over 30 individuals tasked with taking stock of and disarming Assad’s chemical weapons in the next month.
The 14 member UN team as well as 19 members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are preparing for their operations. As reported by UPI, General Ban Ki-moon told UN headquarters in New York that “the team has also been considering the health and environmental hazards which they may have to confront.”
The first step for the inspectors will be to ensure that all the gaps in any disclosure paperwork are filled. This includes gaps in reporting on inventory of nerve agents, poison gases, delivery systems and sites where the materials are being produced. While there are no official numbers on the amount of sites in Syria, experts are estimating that there are as many as 70 sites.
Deadlines are looming. It is expected that any sites with equipment used for creating the weapons must be destroyed by November 1. This will ensure removal of the core of the chemical weapons program. Assad has promised to comply with the resolution and has, so far, kept his agreements. Meeting this deadline will speak to the long-term integrity of the agreement
As far as concerns from Syria about US intervention, "Twenty weapons inspectors will prevent the Americans from striking. They cannot strike while they are here. The regime is happy," a Damascus resident said.