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NOBEL

Syria weapons removal late says watchdog

The leader of the world's chemical watchdog has said that the transportation of Syria's chemical arsenal out of the country could be delayed by a few days, as he arrives in Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize.

Syria weapons removal late says watchdog
OPCW at work in Syria. Photo: Syria TV
A road map adopted earlier this month by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to rid Syria of its chemical stockpile, says "priority" weapons have to be removed from the country by December 31st.
   
"This may not be possible perhaps because of the technical issues that we have encountered," OPCW director Ahmet Uzumcu said on arrival in Oslo, where he will on Tuesday receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his organization. "But… a few days delay wouldn't be much from my point of view."
   
Despite the possible hold-up, Uzumcu said he was "confident that we will be able to meet the deadline of June 2014 to destroy all chemical weapons in Syria".
   
President Bashar al-Assad agreed to get rid of his regime's chemical stockpile as part of a US-Russia deal that headed off possible US military strikes after a deadly chemical attack in August. In total, 1,290 tons of chemical weapons, ingredients and precursors are to be destroyed.
   
On October 22nd the Norwegian Nobel committee named the OPCW as its 2013 peace laureate for its role in dismantling chemical weapons.
   
The award came as all eyes were on Syria after a nerve gas attack killed hundreds on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21st.
   
With 190 so-called State Parties, the Hague-based OPCW is seen as a rare example of successful global disarmament.

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SYRIA

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey

Norway, a Nato ally of Turkey, announced Thursday it was suspending all new arms exports to the country after Ankara launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Nato ally Norway suspends new arms exports to Turkey
Smoke rising from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad on October 10th. Photo: AFP

“Given that the situation is complex and changing quickly, the foreign ministry as a precautionary measure will not handle any new demands for exports of defence material or material for multiple uses… to Turkey,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an email sent to AFP.

She added that the ministry would also review all licenses for arms exportation that have already been issued.

Syria's Kurds, who were the West's allies in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, were battling Thursday to hold off a Turkish invasion as thousands of civilians fled air strikes and shelling that deepened fears of a humanitarian crisis and raised international alarm.

Finland, which is not a member of the Nato alliance, announced on Wednesday the suspension of all new arms exports to Turkey or any other country involved in the fighting.

READ ALSO: Norway decides against participation in Nato missile defence system