Members of the U.N. investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria, Aug. 29, 2013. (AP/Local Committee of Arbeen)
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A vote on the appointment of Fernando Arias, 65, is expected to be taken by the body's 41-member executive council of Thursday.He will succeed Ahmet Uzumcu of Turkey, who has headed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since July 2010 .Arias will have to overcome fundamental differences between major powers Russia and the United States, which jointly drafted a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons in 2013 after a sarin attack killed hundreds of civilians near Damascus, but have since ended cooperation at the OPCW.Under Arias' direction, the OPCW adopted a contentious decision in 2016 condemning the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces and Islamic State militants.
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