Team arrives to rid Syria of chemical weapons

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(CNN) — An international team tasked with overseeing the effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons has arrived in Damascus.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Tuesday that the inspectors are focusing on the initial planning phase of helping the embattled country destroy its chemical weapons production facilities.

They plan to visit nearly 50 sites as part of the mission.

The U.N. Security Council, capping a dramatic month of diplomacy, voted unanimously late Friday to require Syria to eliminate its arsenal of chemical weapons — or face consequences.

“Today’s resolution will ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program happens as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency and accountability,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

The U.N. resolution was based on a deal struck this month between the United States and Russia that averted an American military strike over allegations the Syrian government used sarin nerve gas in an August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb. U.S. officials said it left at least 1,400 people dead.