Constructive and cooperative.

That's how chemcial weapons inspectors describe the Syrian government's behavior in the early stages of a plan to rid the country of its chemical weapons.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the chief of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, speaking in the Hague on Wednesday:

(SOUNDBITE) (English) THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS (OPCW), AMBASSADOR AHMET ÜZÜMCÜ, SAYING:

"The Syrian government has already appointed a focal point also for interaction with our organization. They have at the moment one ambassador from Damascus, from the Syrian side, in town and they have also sent two experts who are in fact consulting with our experts…"

But there's still much more left to do, the group says.

Experts aim to visit 20 sites in Syria in the coming weeks.

And the country's chemical weapons can be eliminated by the middle of 2014 -- as planned under a Russia-U.S. deal brokered last month - IF they win support from all sides in Syria's civil war.

A war that continues to rage on.

Video obtained by Reuters appears to show clashes on Tuesday between rebels and government forces in the town of Maarat al-Numaan.

That's just south of the northwestern city of Idlib.

The strategic town sits along the Damascus-Aleppo highway and the two sides have fought over it for many months.

 

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