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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Winner OCPW has been deployed to Syria for the "verification and destruction" of the nation's chemical weapons stockpile.

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In a surprise win, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The group was honored "for its extensive work in eliminating chemical weapons," Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announced in Oslo on Friday.

OCPW inspectors are currently inside Syria on a mission to identify and eliminate the nation's chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with a recent Russia-US deal.

The plan, agreed to by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, scuttled US threats to intervene in Syria following an alleged chemical weapons strike there in late August.

Assad and Syrian rebels seeking his overthrow have traded accusations over the use of chemical weapons during their nearly three-year conflict, and the United Nations has backed the OCPW's efforts to remove the weapons from Syria.

The inspectors are on a tight deadline. According to Reuters, they must agree on a way to destroy Syria's chemical weapons by November 15 and complete their mission by the middle of next year.

Now a 27-member operation in Syria, the first investigators entered the war-torn country on October 1 and have so far visited three out of a planned 20 sites.

The Guardian said the organization's Nobel win may "count as one of those peace prizes you could categorize as an incentive as much as a reward," given the group's task ahead in Syria.

But Jagland said Friday that the Nobel was not awarded to the OPCW "because of Syria, but because of it's long-standing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

Established in 1997, the OPCW has 189 member states and is based at the Hague, according to Reuters.