2 Syria chemical weapons sites inaccessible, watchdog says

Sigrid Kaag, the head of the U.N. team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons, speaks with reporters in front of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. AP Photo

THE HAGUE, Netherlands The global chemical weapons watchdog says its inspectors in Syria have not been able to reach two sites because of security concerns, meaning that one of the first in a series of tight deadlines on the path toward destroying the country's poison gas stockpile by mid-2014 has been missed.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Monday that as of Sunday its inspectors in Syria have checked 21 out of 23 sites declared by Damascus to be part of its poison gas and nerve agent program.

The mission update didn't say who was responsible for the security problem, but that negotiations "to ensure the conditions necessary for safe access" to the two remaining sites will continue.

Officials have said cease-fires may be needed to reach some sites.

On Sunday, OPCW said Syria had sent it details of its poison gas and nerve agent program and a plan to destroy all facilities linked to the deadly arsenal.

Last week, Norway turned down a U.S. request to receive the bulk of Syria's chemical weapons for destruction because it doesn't have the capabilities to complete the task by the deadlines given.

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