Middle East

Syria chemicals near three-quarters destroyed: watchdog

Cargo containers carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons are lined up on the deck of the Danish vessel Ark Futura, moored at Gioia Tauro port, southern Italy July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Vigili del Fuoco)

THE HAGUE: Almost three quarters of Syria's entire chemical stockpile has been destroyed, the world's chemical weapons watchdog said Thursday, after another 190 tons of agents were incinerated in Britain.

"The OPCW confirmed today (Thursday) that 74.2 percent of Syria's entire stockpile of chemicals has now been destroyed," The Hague-based Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons said in a statement.

Around 190 tons of mainly chemical precursors, used for making nerve agents and a small amount of hydrochloric acid were destroyed at a commercial facility at Ellesmere Port near the northwestern city of Liverpool, the OPCW said.

The chemicals made up around 15 percent of the stockpile removed from Syria.

Last month the OPCW announced that all 1,300 tons of chemicals removed from Syria in an international maritime operation had been delivered to destruction facilities outside the war-torn country.

The remaining 600 tons of Syria's declared chemical arsenal was being destroyed on board a U.S. military ship, the Cape Ray.

The Pentagon said two weeks ago that American specialists have so far neutralized about a quarter of the chemical DF, a precursor to make lethal Sarin gas.

After a global outcry over deadly chemical attacks in a Damascus suburb last year that may have killed as many as 1,400 people, the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad agreed to an international plan to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.

"Operations to destroy the remaining stockpile continue at land-based facilities in Finland and the United States and onboard the Cape Ray," the OPCW said.

Effluent from the process on the Cape Ray will afterwards be destroyed in Finland and Germany, it added.





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