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Weapons experts start Syria mission amid clashes

October 2, 2013 • World News


A convoy of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons prepares to cross into Syria at the Lebanese border crossing point of Masnaa, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. An advance group of 20 inspectors from a Netherlands-based chemical weapons watchdog arrived in Syria on Tuesday to begin their complex mission of finding, dismantling and ultimately destroying an estimated 1,000-ton chemical arsenal. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — Deadly clashes raged on the edge of Damascus on Wednesday and rival rebel factions battled each other in northern Syria as international chemical weapons inspectors began to secure the sites where they will work.

The fighting underscored the immense security challenge that the dozens of disarmament experts must negotiate as they work amid the civil war to meet tight deadlines for eliminating President Bashar Assad’s estimated 1,000-ton arsenal of chemical weapons.

The inspectors’ mission — endorsed by a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last week — is to scrap Syria’s capacity to manufacture chemical weapons by Nov. 1 and destroy its entire stockpile by mid-2014.

A convoy of SUVs with U.N. markings departed the central Damascus hotel where the Login to read more

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