Conflict & Justice

Syria provides plan for destruction of chemical weapons before deadline: OPCW


A picture shows destruction in the Al-Sukkari district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 5, 2013.



The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad provided a detailed plan of its chemical weapon stockpiles days before a vital deadline, an international watchdog group said Sunday.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, which is managing the initiative to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, said it received a destruction plan from Damascus earlier this week.

"On 24 Oct. 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons program," the watchdog group said in a statement, adding that Sunday was the official deadline.

Under a deal brokered by the US and Russia last month, Syria has until mid-2014 to destroy its chemical arsenal estimated at about 1,000 tons, according to a 2013 French intelligence report.

More from GlobalPost: Kurdish fighters seize Syrian border post from Islamists

Chemical weapons inspectors have already made some progress, gaining access to about 23 sites inside the war-torn country, and OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said Sunday that the regime had been cooperative.

Syria's latest disclosures "provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities," the OPCW — which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize — said in its first monthly report. 

The OPCW has until Nov. 15 to review the information submitted by Syria.

The leader of the Syrian National Council, a key group in the coalition which represents the Syrian opposition, criticized the international community for not acting against Assad after a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 24 killed an estimated 1,400 civilians.

"The international community has focused on the murder weapon, which is the chemical weapons, and left the murderer unpunished and forgotten the victims," George Sabra said earlier this month, while confirming that the SNC rejected peace talks at Geneva.

More from GlobalPost: United Nations to vaccinate 10.5 million in Syria to fight polio outbreak