Syria Submits Chemical Weapon Stockpile Plan

Syria has filed details of its poison gas and nerve agent programme and an initial plan to destroy it to the world's chemical weapons watchdog, it has been confirmed.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement that Syria completed its declaration on October 24, as part of a strict and ambitious timeline that aims to destroy the lethal stockpile by mid-2014.

The Hague-based group said such declarations by member states "provide the basis on which plans are devised for a systematic, total and verified destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities".

The OPCW has been working in conjunction with the United Nations after a resolution was passed for the stockpile destruction.

Such declarations made to the organisation remain confidential and no details of Syria's programme were released.

Syria already had given preliminary details to the OPCW when it said it was joining the organisation in September in a move that warded off possible United States-led military strikes.

It came after widespread condemnation of an August 21 chemical weapon attack on a Damascus suburb. Syria denies responsibility for the deadly attack.

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

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

It has not yet been decided how or where destruction of Syria's chemical weapons will happen.

Syria's declaration includes a general plan for destruction that will be considered by the OPCW's 41-nation executive council on November 15.

Norway's foreign minister announced Friday that the country had turned down a US request to receive the bulk of Syria's chemical weapons for destruction because it does not have the capabilities to complete the task by the deadlines given.

The US and Russia have extensive experience in destruction of chemical stockpiles, after they significantly reduced their own stockpiles following the end of the Cold War.

The Pentagon has released details of mobile chemical weapon destruction units it says could be deployed to the region.

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