Britain to help destroy chemicals in Syrian stockpile

The government said it has agreed to dismantle chemicals used to make Syrian weapons, and will destroy 150 tonnes of two industrial-grade chemicals at a commercial facility

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Delicate international effort to destroy Syria's weapons

The global chemical weapon's watchdog has released some details of its destruction plan for Syria's chemical weapons. The delicate plan will require an internationally co-ordinated effort and will see China, Russia, the US, the UK, Norway, Finland and Denmark work together.

  • Russian armoured trucks will help take the weapons and chemicals used to make weapons out of the country, tracked by US satellite equipment, and Chinese surveillance cameras
  • When the vehicles reach Latakia, the cargo will be loaded on to Danish and Norwegian cargo ships
  • Russia will provide sailors and naval vessels to move the cargo at Latakia and inside Syrian waters
  • The UK will provide a Royal Navy Vessel to assist the ship in international waters
  • The chemicals will be destroyed on board a specially adapted US ship
  • China will send a military ship to protect the US ship destroying the weapons
  • The UK has then agreed to destroy the chemicals that would make the weapons

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) previously announced that all declared equipment and sites for producing chemical weapons in Syria were rendered unusable.

Read: UN - Syria destroys declared weapon equipment

The OPCW had set itself a deadline of December 31 for the most dangerous chemicals to be taken out of Syria, but this may be pushed back.

Royal Navy Vessel to aid Syrian chemical destruction

A Foreign and Commonwealth spokesperson explained that the UK has agreed to provide a Royal Navy Vessel to assist Danish and Norwegian cargo ships in international waters when removing the entire chemical stockpile from Syria by sea.

They added: “The UK is also providing specialist equipment to the US to assist with the hydrolysis of the most sensitive chemicals before their final destruction. These ‘large access devices’ will be used to move the chemicals between their storage units and the hydrolysis equipment.”


FCO: UK to play role in destruction of Syrian chemicals

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said the "international mission" to destroy Syria's Chemical weapons is essential to ensure that Bashar al-Assad can "never again use these horrific weapons to murder his own people".

The chemicals were confiscated by a team of experts from the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Credit: Reuters

They added: "The UK along with the US, Russia, China, Denmark, Norway and Finland will be playing its part in this mission over the coming weeks and months.

"As part of our contribution, we have agreed to destroy 150 tonnes of two industrial-grade chemicals from the Syrian stockpile at a commercial facility.

“The chemicals will be shipped to a UK port with suitable off-loading equipment before being transferred to a commercial site to be destroyed by incineration...It is important to stress that these are chemicals, not chemical weapons.

"They do not contain explosives. The chemicals will be sealed in standard industrial containers to international standards and under the supervision of OPCW inspectors.”

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