Watchdog: Syria destroyed all unfilled chemical weapons munitions

According to the OPCW, plans are on course to complete the removal of all of Assad's supplies of chemical arms by the middle of next year.

December 6, 2013 23:25
1 minute read.
A UN team examining samples from site of August 21 attack in Damascus.

UN chemical inspectors in Syria 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah)

Syria has destroyed all of its unfilled chemical weapons munitions, the international watchdog responsible for overseeing the decommissioning of its arsenal confirmed on Friday.

According to  the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, plans are on course to complete the removal of all of President Bashar Assad's supplies of chemical arms by the middle of next year.

The group, which is overseeing the efforts in concert with the United Nations, said its inspectors had recently finished destroying munitions near the city of Homs.

Earlier this year, the Syrian government agreed to abide by the terms of an understanding reached between the United States and Russia whereby all of its chemical stockpiles would be destroyed.

The US had threatened punitive air strikes against Syria after a chemical attack left hundreds head near Damascus.

Denmark and Norway have offered naval frigates and specialized cargo vessels to transport chemical weapons out of Syria as part of the deal.

Denmark would lead the operation, while Norway would act as deputy commander, the two countries said in a joint statement.

Italy, Norway and Denmark have all offered to transport Syria's chemicals from the port of Latakia with military escorts.

The chemicals would then be transferred to a US ship, where the stockpile would be destroyed.

According to a plan endorsed by the international community, the most dangerous chemical warfare agents should be out of Syria by end of December.

Under a deal worked out between the United States and Russia, Syria will relinquish control of its chemical weapons and destroy its entire stockpile of 1,300 tons of sarin, mustard gas and other lethal agents.

The size of the stockpile, including 800 tons of industrial chemicals destined for incineration at commercial toxic waste plants, means it can only be transported by land and sea.

Both Denmark and Norway will have to complete the relevant national procedures before the operation can begin, they said.

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