Syria files details on chemical arsenal

Syria has filed details of its poison gas and nerve agent program and an initial plan to destroy it to the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the organization said yesterday.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement that Syria completed its declaration as part of a strict and ambitious timeline that aims to eliminate the stockpile by mid-2014.

The Hague-based group said Syria made the declaration on Thursday. The announcement provides “the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities,” the group said.

Such declarations made to the body are confidential. No details of Syria’s program were released.

Syria gave preliminary details to the OPCW when it said it was joining the organization in September. The move warded off possible US military strikes in the aftermath of an August 21 chemical weapon attack on a Damascus suburb. Syria denies responsibility for the attack.

OPCW inspectors were hastily dispatched to Syria this month and have visited most of the 23 sites Damascus declared. They have also begun overseeing destruction work to ensure that machines used to mix chemicals and fill munitions with poisons are no longer functioning.

Syria is believed to possess around 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and sarin.

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