Syrian Chem Weapons May be Destroyed at Sea
Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons at sea is safe and feasible, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has told Al Jazeera, as a December deadline to complete the task approaches.
Some 798 tons of chemicals and 7.7 million liters of liquid waste need to be transported and disposed off, the OPCW said.
"Everything will be done according to the international regulations and in a very safe manner and all measures, in fact, will be taken appropriately either during the transportation of those substances by ship and also during the destruction," Ahmet Üzümcü, OPCW director general, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.
Üzümcü also said they expect America to be at the forefront of the process. "We expect that they will take the lead," he said.
"There are already some facilities manufactured by the US that can be installed easily on a a ship or on land."
The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons outside Syrian territory was part of a US-Russia deal aimed at heading off strikes by western powers on Syria after a chemical attacks in August killed hundreds of civilians. However, no country has volunteered to have them destroyed on its soil.
Some chemical weapons are destroyed through a process known as hydrolysis, in which chemical agents are used to neutralize poisons such as mustard gas and sulfur, resulting in liquid waste known as effluent.