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OPCW experts cannot access several chemical facilities due to fighting in Syria

October 15, 2013, 5:46 UTC+3
Official Damascus cooperates with the OPCW and the UN - the inspectors have already visited a quarter of the 20 facilities for the production of chemical agents
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Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/SHAAM NEWS NETWORK

Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/SHAAM NEWS NETWORK

LONDON, October 15 (Itar-Tass) - Due to the ongoing fighting in Syria, experts of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) cannot access some facilities, OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü told the BBC on Monday.

According to him, official Damascus cooperates with the OPCW and the UN - the inspectors have already visited a quarter of the 20 facilities for the production of chemical agents. Üzümcü stressed routes to some of the sites went through opposition-held territory and this prevented access. “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 said.

Üzümcü said he had called for truces because “in the previous, UN-led mission to investigate allegations of use (of chemical weapons) there were temporary ceasefires of four or five hours which helped this mission.” He added that one abandoned site was located in a rebel-held area, and that his team was hoping to access it. It is the first time the OPCW has worked in a war zone since it was set up in 1997.

The OPCW head also said that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to this organisation would be a serious encouragement to its employees. He said the Nobel Prize had been a “very big boost” to the morale of his teams. “They are working in very challenging circumstances in the field,” he said.

Üzümcü said the OPCW called on all the sides in Syria to support this mission, display willingness to cooperate and not to complicate the mission.

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