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Syria discloses weapons info

worldremovingsyriaschemicalweaponsDAMASCUS – Syria has begun sending details of its chemical weapons as part of a US-Russia brokered deal to make them safe, the chemical arms watchdog has said.

The Hague-based OPCW added that it expected more details from Syria in the coming days and had postponed a meeting planned for Sunday.

Syria was given a Saturday deadline to give a full list of its chemical arms.

The US had threatened military action over a chemical attack in Damascus last month, which the UN called a war crime.

The US, UK and France have accused Syrian government forces of carrying out the attack in the Ghouta district on 21 August, but President Bashar al-Assad has blamed rebel groups.

Separately, two Syrian rebel groups have agreed a ceasefire in the northern town of Azaz after two days of fighting that raised fears of a war within a war.

Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is responsible for policing the treaty outlawing chemical arms, said Syria’s submission was an “initial declaration”.

Luhan said it was now being examined by the organisation’s technical secretariat but he declined to say what was in it.

A UN diplomat confirmed to Reuters that details had been submitted, adding: “It’s quite long… and being translated.”

The US-Russia-brokered deal aims to have inspectors on the ground in Syria in November, when they will make an initial assessment and oversee the destruction of certain equipment.

The destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons would then be completed by mid-2014. (BBC)

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