as soon as this process is complete, bandar’s boys will presumably launch an awful suicide blitz on all the syrian army bases

Syrian CW destruction on schedule, reports OPCW
Matthew Schofield, McClatchy, Oct 23 2013

BERLIN — The group overseeing the destruction of Syria’s CW arsenal is confident its inspectors will meet their Nov 1 deadline for rendering inoperable the elements that make immediate warfare possible. At a Tuesday press conference in The Hague, OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said their teams had already made significant progress. He said that this phase of efforts is to destroy production capacity, as well as machines that are used to mix precursors into deadly chemicals and those used to fill those deadly chemicals into rockets. He said:

Destruction activities have now been conducted at all but one of the relevant sites in Syria. What it means is that it will no longer have the capability to produce any more CW, and it will no longer have any working equipment to mix and to fill CW agent into munitions. That’s specifically what will be the case, that’s what we expect to be the case as of Nov 1.

As of Tuesday, the OPCW inspection team had visited 18 of the 23 chemical weapons sites Syrian authorities have disclosed. Luhan noted their teams had started “functional destruction” at almost all of those sites. He described those activities only in general terms, saying:

They are using low-tech methods that we had discussed some weeks ago when we were just starting the mission up. It involves smashing things, cutting things, in some cases using cement and other things; smashing things with heavy vehicles, one or all of those activities. But all low-tech and quick and cheap.

Luhan said the 27 OPCW inspection team members in Syria have had “good access” and that as this phase winds down, the organization next week will temporarily reduce their presence to 15. The phase after the destruction of machinery involves the far trickier destruction of the chemicals. Syria has more than 1,000 lb (tons – RB) of CW, including the deadly neurotoxins Sarin and VX, as well as mustard gas. The destruction of those chemicals and their precursors is scheduled to be complete by next summer. Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing the inspection teams remains the unstable security situation inside Syria, where a bloody and protracted civil war continues. On that, Luhan said:

I don’t want to elaborate too much, but essentially the security concerns around those sites are that our access needs to be negotiated to be able to conduct verification and other work at those sites. But while there have been reports of attacks near the hotel of the inspection team in the first days of their time in Syria, they have not faced further similar threats.

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