BEIRUT

Middle East

Britain to destroy extra 50 tons of Syrian arms

Smoke billows from a building following a reported bomb barrel attack by the Syrian airforce, in the eastern Shaar neighborhood of the city of Aleppo July 9, 2014. (AFP Photo/Zein al-Rifai)

LONDON: Britain said Wednesday that it would destroy a further 50 tons of material from Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, taking the total amount it has agreed to process to 200 tons.

Facing the threat of U.S. air strikes, Bashar Assad's government last year promised to dismantle its chemical arsenal, telling the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons it had 1,300 tons of such weapons.

Britain had previously agreed to accept 150 tons of Syrian poison gas precursors for destruction by French firm Veolia Environnement in northern England.

"A further 50 tons of the industrial chemicals hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride will also be destroyed in specialized commercial facilities in the UK," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a written statement to parliament.

Hague said a ship carrying the chemicals was expected to arrive in Britain next week.

Foreign powers have scrambled to find countries to destroy the chemicals. The most toxic are first being processed on board a U.S. ship. Less dangerous precursor chemicals are being destroyed commercially at industrial facilities.

 

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