Roughly 80% of Syria's chemical weapons have been destroyed or removed
The head of the international team overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical arms says the country has shipped out or destroyed nearly 80 percent of its declared weapons material.
Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), announced the news on Saturday.
Kaag described the process pace as positive, noting that if the procedure sustains current momentum, Syria would be able to meet its April 27 deadline to give up its entire declared chemical stockpile.
On September 14, 2013, Russia and the United States agreed on a deal under which Syria would have its chemical weapons eliminated and the US would in return not carry out planned strikes on the Arab country.
The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on August 21, 2013.
Damascus vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.
Part of Syria's chemical agents is now supposed to be neutralized at sea in a specifically-equipped US ship.
The other part of the stockpile will be sent to commercial waste facilities in Finland, Britain and Germany.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
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- Sigrid Kaag, the head of the international mission