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Neutralization of Syrian chemical weapons surpasses 70 percent

The U.S. Defense Department says neutralization of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile is more than 70 percent complete.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Aug. 11, 2014 at 5:58 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- More than 70 percent of Syria's surrendered chemical weapons have reportedly been neutralized by specialists aboard a U.S. container ship in the Mediterranean.

The U.S. Department of Defense said a field-deployable hydrolysis system is being used in the neutralization effort to neutralize Syrian chemicals by essentially mixing the chemicals with water and sodium hypochlorite bleach.

A total of 74.2 percent of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile has now been rendered harmless under international agreements -- including a U.N. Security Council resolution -- following reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used such weapons in 2013 in an effort to quell insurrection in the country.

The destruction process began in early July. The original chemical cargo from Syria was about 600 tons of methylphosphonyl difluoride, the main precursor of sarin and other nerve agents, and 20 tons of mustard gas.

The neutralized chemical agents are not dumped at sea. They are transported in containers to commercial waste-treatment facilities.

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