OPCW reports advance in removing Syria chemical arms

OPCW reports advance in removing Syria chemical arms
Thu Mar 20, 2014 09:36:44

Syria has removed almost half of its chemical weapons stockpile, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says.

The OPCW said in a statement on Wednesday that the amount included the country’s entire stock of lethal mustard gas.

In the past week, two shipments were transferred from the northwestern port of Latakia to Norwegian and Danish vessels for destruction outside Syria, OPCW added.

So far, Syria has scrapped 45.6 percent of its Category 1 and Category 2 chemicals and remains committed to the destruction of its entire arsenal by June 30.

Once all the chemicals are delivered, they will be taken to a US vessel called the MV Cape Ray and will be broken down at sea using hydrolysis, a process which is expected to take 90 days.

On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria would have its chemical weapons eliminated and the US would in return not carry out planned strikes on the Arab country.

The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on August 21, 2013.

Damascus vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Some sources say around 130,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by foreign-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

The United Nations reported that more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.

The UN also says more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country.


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