THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The inspectors responsible for tracking down Syria's chemical arms stockpile and verifying its destruction plan to start work in Syria by Tuesday. They will face their tightest deadlines ever and work right in the heart of a war zone, according to a draft decision obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
The decision is the key to any U.N. resolution on Syria's chemical weapons program.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council reached agreement Thursday on a resolution to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. A vote depends on how soon the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is to meet Friday evening at its headquarters in The Hague, can adopt its plan for securing and destroying Syria's stockpile.
The draft agreed upon by Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain includes two legally binding demands: that Syria abandons its chemical stockpile and that it allows the chemical weapons experts unfettered access.
U.N. chemical inspectors to probe 7 sites
The U.N. says its inspectors in Syria will investigate a total of seven sites where chemical weapons were allegedly used, including a Damascus suburb where hundreds were killed last month.
The U.N. office in Damascus said in a statement Friday that its team will write up a report "it hopes will be ready by late October."
It was previously thought the U.N. probe would only look into three locations in Syria.
The United States says the Aug. 21 attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta killed 1,429 people. Ghouta has been the focus of the U.N. team so far.
Car bomb kills at least 30 north of Syrian capital
Syrian activists say a car bomb near a mosque in a town north of Damascus has killed at least 30 people.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that monitors the crisis, says the explosion struck as worshipers at the al-Sahel mosque in Rankous were leaving after Friday prayers.
Observatory's director Rami Abdul-Rahman says dozens of people were also wounded in the bombing.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.