A wounded Syrian man reacts after a building collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo on March 5, 2014, following a barrel bomb that was reportedly dropped by Syrian government forces. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-KHATIEB)
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Behind barbed wire fences at a top-security site in a German forest, workers in hazard suits will soon destroy remnants of Syrian chemical weapons of a type first tested here during World War I.Far from the battlefields of the three-year-old Syrian war, this remote high-tech facility, which usually destroys munitions from two world wars, will help eliminate mustard gas stocks from the arsenal of President Bashar al-Assad. The facility known as GEKA, Germany's state-owned company for disposing of chemical warfare agents, boasts incinerators and a blast-proof explosives furnace that can safely detonate munitions with the destructive power of two tonnes of TNT. It was at this site in Munster, some 70 kilometres (50 miles) south of Hamburg, that Germany developed chemical weapons during World War I and first test-fired mustard gas, a devastating warfare agent.Some 370 tonnes of the waste will be shipped in coming months in about a dozen containers to the German plant, where it will be pumped into a 1,000-degree-Celsius (1,800-degree- Fahrenheit) incinerator.
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