SHOTLIST:

+++SOUNDBITES PARTIALLY COVERED BY VO+++

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands - October 31, 2013

1. Exterior shot of OPCW

2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Michael Luhan, OPCW spokesman:

"The Syrian government has completed what we called functional destruction of its entire chemical weapons making apparatus and water mixing filling equipment for use for sarin gas, so it no longer has the capacity to manufacture new chemical weapons agents and has not the capacity to utilize the precursor binary chemicals for sarin gas and to load those into munitions."

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Damascus, Syria - October 31, 2013

3. UN inspectors arriving at hotel

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - October 31, 2013

4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Michael Luhan, OPCW spokesman:

"There were two sites that it was just deemed too risky, they were not able to offer the necessary security guarantees for our inspectors to visit those sites, but at the same time the Syrian side provided quite compelling documentary evidence that in one of those sites that had contained production manufacturing equipment, that equipment was in fact moved to another site that we did visit and we were able to verify that that equipment was rendered inoperable by functional destruction of its critical equipment."

STORYLINE:

Syria has completed destruction of critical equipment for producing chemical weapons and filling munitions with poison gas, the global chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday.

The announcement by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) came one day ahead of the 1 November deadline set by the Hague-based organization for Damascus to destroy or "render inoperable" all chemical weapon production facilities and machinery for mixing chemicals into poison gas and filling munitions.

The completion of what is essentially the initial stage of destruction is a significant milestone in an ambitious timeline that aims to destroy all of Damascus' chemical weapons by mid 2014. Destruction of the equipment means that Syria can no longer produce new chemical weapons.

Michael Luhan, OPCW spokesman said on Thursday that the inspectors were not able to visit two sites for security reasons.

"The Syrian side provided quite compelling documentary evidence that in one of those sites that had contained production manufacturing equipment, that equipment was in fact moved to another site that we did visit and we were able to verify that that equipment was rendered inoperable by functional destruction of its critical equipment," Luhan explained. However, Damascus still has to start destroying existing weapons and stockpiles. The country is believed to have around 1,000 metric tons of chemicals and weapons including mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin.

The announcement came as fighting raged on Thursday in the town of Safira, which experts say is home to a chemical weapons production facility as well as storage sites, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Major General Michael Finn arrived at the Four Seasons hotel where UN weapons inspectors have been staying.

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