Syrian Chemical Stockpile Secured

An international task force removed from Syria the last remaining chemical precursors that the Syrian government had declared to be part of its chemical weapons stockpile, announced the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Workers loaded these chemicals on June 23 on the Danish ship Ark Futura at the Syrian port of Latakia, states OPCW’s release. “With this step, 100 percent of the declared chemicals are out of war-torn Syria,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement. In all, the task force removed more than 1,000 tons of declared chemical weapons materials within a nine-month period, said Kerry. The United States and its partners will now work to destroy the chemicals “so they never again pose a threat to the Syrian people or America’s allies in the region,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a statement. The converted ship USS Cape Ray with equipment to neutralize the chemicals is heading to the area. OPCW’s Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said on Monday his organization would soon begin destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities.?