OPCW calls for short-term ceasefire in Syria

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has called for a short-term ceasefire in Syria to allow its inspectors to continue their task to destroy the Arab country’s chemical weapons.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the OPCW head, said on Monday that the Syrian government has been co-operating and facilitating the work of the team of experts since the joint UN-OPCW mission began on October 6.

He also said The experts had been taken wherever they wanted to go and that they had already reached five sites. However, the routes of some of the facilities went through areas held by foreign-backed militants and the access to the sites was prevented.

“They change hands from one day to another, which is why we appeal to all sides in Syria to support this mission, to be co-operative and not render this mission more difficult. It’s already challenging,” he added.

Uzumcu said that on Saturday mortar shells fell “next to the hotel where our team is staying and there are exchanges of fire not far from where they go.”

Some 60 OPCW and UN experts and support staff are in Syria to implement a UN resolution on scrapping the Syrian chemical arsenal. The United Nations Security Council approved the resolution on September 27.

The Syrian government has already called for a ceasefire between the foreign-backed militants operating in the country and the Syrian army in order for the inspectors to be able to access some of the sites.

The team has until November 1 to inspect the chemical weapons arsenals declared by the Syrian government and supervise the destruction of the related facilities.

On September 14, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal according to which Syria would have its chemical weapons stockpiles eliminated and the US would in return not carry out planned strikes on the Middle Eastern country.

The agreement came after days of mounted war rhetoric against Syria by the United States and some of its allies, which blamed Damascus for a fatal chemical attack on the outskirts of the Syrian capital on August 21.

Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants operating inside the country as a false-flag operation.

By Press TV


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