'Syria makes excellent start on chemical disarmament'

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Beirut, Oct 7: As the team of 20 experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has begun verifying Syria's chemical weapons arsenal as a first step in its destruction, one of the official on Monday said that Syria has made an "excellent start".

According to a report, an official from the international mission overseeing the stockpile's elimination said Damascus had made an excellent start, and the United States acknowledged its rapid compliance with a UN resolution on destroying chemical weapons as extremely significant.

The official described Sunday's operations in which Syrian forces used cutting torches and angle grinders to render missile warheads and bombs unusable.

However, he noted that this was only the start of work that is due to last until mid-2014 and requires the cooperation of all sides.

Last month, Assad's government agreed to destroy the chemical weapons.

"It was an excellent first day, with the stress on the word 'first'," the official told Reuters by telephone from Damascus, declining to be named.

"There are milestones and tests that lie ahead, and we hope and expect to have continued cooperation of all parties to pass those milestones," the official said.

Last month, Assad's government agreed to destroy the chemical weapons after a chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus killed hundreds of people in August.

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