World

Syria Turns In Last Of Its Declared Chemical Weapons Stash

The watchdog group overseeing the weapons disposal says Syria has handed over the final 8 percent of its 1,300-ton stockpile.

Syria Turns In Last Of Its Declared Chemical Weapons Stash
United Nations / Hend Abdel Ghany

Syria has reportedly handed over the last of its declared chemical weapons stash. 

Declared being the key word, as there have been accusations Bashar al-Assad's regime has withheld some of its stockpile and unconfirmed reports the Syrian government has been dropping chlorine bombs on civilians. (Via Eretz Zen)

JEN PSAKI: "We've never taken the Assad regime at its word ... and we will continue to approach this process with our eyes wide open." (Via U.S. Department of State

Nevertheless, the international watchdog group tasked with overseeing the disposal is hailing the news a "major landmark" in a "historic and unprecedented mission." (Via Euronews

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement the final 8 percent of Syria's acknowledged 1,300-ton stockpile was loaded onto ships. 

You'll recall last September, Syria's government agreed to hand over its stockpile as part of a deal brokered by the U.S. and Russia. (Via NBC

The deal was seen as an alternative to possible U.S. airstrikes prompted by this deadly chemical weapons attack in a suburb near Damascus. (Via ABC

The multimillion-dollar operation to get rid of the stockpile is now several months behind schedule. Syrian authorities have blamed the delays on heavy fighting near the storage sites. (Via The New York Times, ABC, The Guardian

And there has been cause for concern. In May, a group of weapons inspectors was ambushed while traveling in rebel-held territory. (Via YouTube / National Rally for Free Hama)

The next challenge will be destroying this toxic material at sea aboard a U.S. cargo vessel. It's a process that could take weeks, if not months.