THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – An official at the global chemical weapons watchdog said Thursday Syria has completed destruction of critical equipment for producing chemical weapons and filling munitions with poison gas.
The announcement comes one day ahead of the deadline set by The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for Damascus to destroy or “render inoperable” all chemical weapon production facilities and machinery for mixing chemicals into poison gas and filling munitions.
Destruction of the equipment means that Syria can no longer produce new chemical weapons. However Damascus still has to start destroying existing weapons and stockpiles, of which the country is believed to have around 1,000 tons.
Completion of the initial stage of destruction, overseen by a joint U.N.-OPCW team in Syria, is a significant milestone in a timeline that aims to destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014.