Amy Smithson, a chemical weapons expert at the US Monterey Institute, said the harder part of eliminating Syria's loot of chemical weapons lies in the next stage, which involves transporting and eliminating the warfare agents. Speaking to Reuters, Ms Smithson said:
What is unknown at present is whether Assad has declared everything in his arsenal - remember, Gaddafi kept a stash and Saddam tried his best to do the same but was outmaneuvered by savvy, determined inspectors - and to what extent Syrian cooperation will continue.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has released the following statement regarding the destruction of equipment "critical" to the production of new chemical weapons in Syria:
– opcw statement
The Joint Mission is now satisfied that it has verified - and seen destroyed - all of Syria’s declared critical production and mixing/filling equipment.
Given the progress made in the Joint OPCW-UN Mission in meeting the requirements of the first phase of activities, no further inspection activities are currently planned.
The next milestone for the mission will be 15 November, by which time the Executive Council must approve a detailed plan of destruction submitted by Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpile.
The first stage in destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles has been completed, according to an official from the international watchdog OPCW.
The announcement comes a day before the deadline set by the Hague-based organisation to destroy or "render inoperable" all equipment for making new chemical weapons.
Syria's weapons stockpiles - consisting of an estimated 1,000 metric tons of chemicals including mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin - must be destroyed by the middle of next year, under the plan submitted by government.
The global chemical weapons watchdog has said that all of Syria's declared chemical weapon production, mixing and filling equipment has been destroyed.