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Last dangerous chemicals shipped from Syria

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THE HAGUE: The last of Syria’s declared toxic material have been shipped from the war-torn country after months of delays and are en route for destruction at sea, the world’s chemical watchdog said on Monday.

“As we speak, the ship (carrying the last chemicals) has just left the port (of Latakia),” Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told journalists in The Hague where the OPCW is based.

“Removing the stockpile of precursor and other chemicals has been a fundamental condition in the programme to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons,” Uzumcu said. The Dutch head of the joint OPCW-UN mission, Sigrid Kaag, hailed the end of “the most operationally challenging task” in the international efforts to destroy Damascus´ chemical arsenal.

Syria had previously shipped out 92 percent of its stockpile of chemical weapons under the terms of a UN-backed and US-Russia brokered agreement to head off Western air strikes against the regime last year. But Damascus delayed shipping the remaining eight percent of the stockpile from another site, citing security concerns over transporting it to the port of Latakia.

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