Cyprus Agrees to Host Syria Chemical Disarmers

Armed fighters of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People on Wednesday walk in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain amid fighting the country's multi-faceted war. On Friday the island nation of Cyprus said it will welcome crews charged with ensuring the elimination of chemical arms in Syria (AFP/Getty Images).
Armed fighters of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People on Wednesday walk in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain amid fighting the country's multi-faceted war. On Friday the island nation of Cyprus said it will welcome crews charged with ensuring the elimination of chemical arms in Syria (AFP/Getty Images).

The island nation of Cyprus on Friday said it would welcome a planned operations hub for international crews charged with ensuring the elimination of chemical arms in civil-war-torn Syria, the Associated Press reported.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week called for creation of the post, set to be located at a largely unused airfield in the island's internationally demilitarized border area.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's government in September admitted possessing chemical weapons, weeks after a nerve-gas strike in rebel-held territory pushed the United States to the brink of potential military action against the regime in Damascus. Assad agreed to the chemical arsenal's elimination, leading to a fast-track disarmament push overseen by United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The center's location would enable international personnel to fly directly into Syria by helicopter, according to AP.

The chemical-disarmament team audited three additional Syrian locations since Wednesday, raising its total count of inspected sites to 14, according to an OPCW statement from Friday.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington denied an Assad deputy's Thursday assertion that plans were in place to hold a Nov. 23-24 Syria peace meeting, Reuters reported.

Oct. 18, 2013
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The island nation of Cyprus on Friday said it would welcome a planned operations hub for international crews charged with ensuring the elimination of chemical arms in civil-war-torn Syria, the Associated Press reported.