chemical clean-up the biggest ever staged
International chemical weapon troubleshooters will enter war-torn Syria on
Tuesday to start one of the biggest and most dangerous disarmament
operations ever staged.
With more than 1,000 tonnes of sarin, mustard gas and
other banned horror chemicals stocked across the country, the UN and the global chemical weapons watchdog have launched an urgent appeal for
scarce experts to join the mission.
Applicants must be ready to face
mortal risks and an impossible deadline.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon called the
operation "daunting" after the UN Security Council voted Friday to eliminate
President Bashar al-Assad's chemical arms.
UN needs 200 inspectors
The mission by the Organisation
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which polices the 1993
Chemical Weapons Convention, will run in parallel to a UN investigation into
a huge sarin gas attack in Damascus in August and other suspected
Final details of a US-Russia plan to dispose of stockpiles at an
estimated 45 sites have still not been agreed, UN diplomats
Clean-ups of chemicals have been staged in Iraq and Libya, but
never in the middle of a raging war.
Experts say the OPCW will need up to 200
inspectors for the Syria force. It has less than half that number
who already have a heavy regular workload.
The watchdog has had to appeal to
the major powers to send scientists.
Those who go will become a new target in
the 30-month-old conflict and the strife means the noxious potions will have
to be moved out of Syria to be destroyed. - AFP [Photo: EPA/ Youssef Badawi]