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Syria officially joins UN Chemical Weapons Convention

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 11:33

Syria officially joined Monday the United Nations convention banning chemical weapons, the spokesman of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said.

"As of today Syria became a full-fledged state member of the convention," Michael Luhan told dpa.

He said the move comes after "the decision taken a few weeks ago at Syria's request to fast forward the application to enable us to get on with our work."

Around 60 members from the UN-backed OPCW is overseeing the destruction of Syria's stockpile as well as some of its chemical weapons production equipment.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee last week awarded the OPCW the Nobel Peace Prize for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In September, Syria said it would sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, following Russia's proposal that it hand over its chemical weapons to international supervisors.

The Syrian regime in August was accused by Western powers and the Syrian opposition of using sarin gas in areas near the capital Damascus. The United States said the attack killed 1,400 people.

President Bashar al-Assad repeatedly denied the accusation.

Created in 1997, OPCW's job is to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that requires all countries that join to eliminate their chemical weapons stocks and related facilities.

Syria is the 190th country to join the convention. Only six states have yet to sign the international treaty.

Inside the country, at least 20 people were killed Monday in a car bomb blast in the area of Darkoush, in the northern province of Idlib, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Activists said 90 people were injured in the explosion.

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