Syria stops chemical arms
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
DAMASCUS- Syria’s declared equipment for producing, mixing and filling chemical weapons has been destroyed, the international watchdog says.
This comes a day before the deadline set by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The weapons have been placed under seal, an OPCW spokesman said. Inspectors were sent to Syria following allegations, denied by the government, that its forces had used chemical weapons in civilian areas.
The inspections were agreed between Russia and the US after Washington threatened to use force in Syria.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the BBC’s Lyse Doucet that it had not been difficult for Syria’s government to meet its obligations, as some had initially feared. “I hope those who have always thought of us negatively will change their minds and understand that Syria was, is, and will be always a constructive partner,” Mr Mekdad told the BBC correspondent.
Now that the equipment has been put beyond use, Syria has until mid-2014 to destroy the chemical weapons themselves.
Its arsenal is believed to include more than 1,000 tonnes of the nerve gas sarin, the blister agent sulphur mustard and other banned chemicals, stored at dozens of sites.