Three Quarters of Syria's Chemicals Destroyed

Three quarters of Syria’s chemical stockpile has been destroyed, says Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

Elad Benari ,

Illustration: Syrian chemical weapons
Illustration: Syrian chemical weapons

Almost three quarters of Syria’s entire chemical stockpile has been destroyed, the world’s chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday, after another 190 tonnes of agents were incinerated in Britain.

“The OPCW confirmed today (Thursday) that 74.2 percent of Syria’s entire stockpile of chemicals has now been destroyed,” The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Around 190 tons of mainly chemical precursors, used for making nerve agents and a small amount of hydrochloric acid were destroyed at a commercial facility at Ellesmere Port near the northwestern city of Liverpool, the OPCW said.

The chemicals made up around 15 percent of the stockpile removed from Syria.

Last month the OPCW announced that all 1,300 tons of chemicals removed from Syria in an international maritime operation had been delivered to destruction facilities outside the war-torn country.

The remaining 600 tons of Syria’s declared chemical arsenal was being destroyed on board a U.S. military ship, the Cape Ray.

The Pentagon said two weeks ago that American specialists have so far neutralized about a quarter of the chemical DF, a precursor to make lethal Sarin gas.

Syria signed up to an international plan to destroy its chemical stockpile after the outcry that followed chemical attacks by the Damascus regime in August last year that may have killed as many as 1,400 people.

Even as the operation to destroy the chemical weapons was going on, there have been reports by local activists that President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime had used chlorine weapons against civilians.

Syria has emphatically denied that it had carried out chlorine gas attacks against civilians, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that he had seen “raw data” indicating that the Syrian government has indeed done so.