On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a report to the Security Council giving further details about the current plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons cache by the end of next June. The joint mission -- which comes following a brutal attack in August that left more than 1,400 dead -- is being overseen by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who announced on Sunday that Syrian personally had already disabled a range of chemical weapons equipment on Sunday.
While there is currently an advance team of about 35 members in the country currently, the report estimates that that size could grow to more than 100. In addition, while much of the destruction will take place in the Syrian capital of Damascus, a staging ground 300 miles away on the island of Cyprus (a separate nation) will also provide increased security for the effort.
More than 1,000 metric tons of material is expected to be processed, and the Secretary-General expressed concern in his report about crossing "active confrontation lines and in some cases through territory controlled by armed groups that are hostile to the objectives of the joint mission." The joint mission will progress in three stages, beginning with planning, then destruction, and then verification of said destruction, which the The New York Times stresses is the most difficult step. A spokesperson for the UN said on Monday "that the destruction of chemical weapons and related facilities was to be done by the Syrian authorities, as monitored by the OPCW with UN support."
Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Wire. The original story can be found here.