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Warheads destroyed as Syria disarmament launched, says U.N.

Published: Updated:

Experts destroyed missile warheads, bombs and chemical mixing equipment on Sunday on the campaign to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons first day, according to the United Nations.

The experts supervised Syrian staff who “used cutting torches and angle grinders” to disable the armaments, said a statement released by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Authorities from both organizations came to Damascus to start checking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s banned chemical weapons arsenal and destroy them in keeping with a U.N. Security Council resolution.

“The process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons program began today,” said the statement, confirming comments by a U.N. official in Damascus, according to Agence France-Presse.

Destruction

The Syrian workers were destroying or disabling a “range of items,” including “missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment,” the statement added.

“The process will continue in the coming days.”

The international team is also “monitoring, verifying and reporting” whether Assad’s government provided accurate information on its chemical stockpiles.

The Security Council passed a resolution on September 27 backing a U.S.-Russia plan submitted to the OPCW to disarm Syria’s chemical weapons after a sarin gas attack in August killed hundreds.

Under the plan, Syria’s chemical weapons mixing and production facilities must be destroyed by November 1.

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon is expected to send a report to the Security Council on Monday setting out in more detail the logistics of what is considered one of the biggest and most dangerous disarmament operations ever staged because the Syria war is still raging.

(With AFP)