(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons team in Syria completed its first working day on Wednesday in the effort to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons by the middle of next year.
The team arrived in Syria on Tuesday on a historic mission. This is the first time that the OPCW has been asked to eliminate a country's chemical weapons during a war, says the BBC News.
A joint statement from the United Nations and the OPCW said that "joint work with the Syrian authorities has begun on securing the sites where the team will operate." The team stressed in discussions with the authorities that it is the responsibility of the Syrian government to meet the deadlines for verification and destruction of their chemical weapons cache.
Under an agreement between the U.S. and Russia, the equipment used to mix and prepare the chemical weapons is expected to be destroyed by November and planning for that is expected to begin shortly. The remainder of the country's chemical weapons material is supposed to be eliminated by the middle of 2014.
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