Watchdog: all of Syria’s chemical production facilities destroyed

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All of Syria’s declared chemical arms production equipment has been destroyed ahead of a Saturday deadline, the international chemical weapons watchdog said in a document obtained by Reuters.

“The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is satisfied it has verified, and seen destroyed, all declared critical production/mixing/filling equipment from all 23 sites,” the document said.

OPCW teams had inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites across the country.

The other two were too dangerous to inspect but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites which had been inspected, it said.

The announcement comes one day ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline set by the Hague-based organization for Damascus to destroy or “render inoperable” all chemical weapon production facilities and machinery for mixing chemicals into poison gas and filling munitions.

After destroying the production equipment, Syria can no longer produce new chemical weapons.

But Damascus still has to start destroying existing weapons and stockpiles

According to the Associated Press, Syria is believed to have around 1,000 metric tons of chemicals and weapons including mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin.

Destroying the chemical weapons was overseen by a joint United Nations-OPCW teams in an ambitious timeline that aims to destroy all of Damascus’ chemical weapons by mid-2014.

Under a Russian-American brokered deal, Damascus agreed to destroy all its chemical weapons after Washington threatened to use force in response to the killing of hundreds of people in a sarin attack on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug. 21.

(With Reuters and Associated Press)

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