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Last of Syria's chemical weapons shipped out
14:34, 24 June 2014, 657

AKIPRESS.COM - _75747989_chlorine The last of Syria's declared chemical weapons have been shipped out of the country for destruction, the international watchdog OPCW says.

"The ship has just left the port," the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu, said in The Hague.

An investigation into alleged use of chlorine in Syria's civil war is still ongoing, Mr Uzumcu added.

More than 160,000 people have died in three years of the Syrian conflict.

The operation to completely destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile was meant to have been completed by 30 June but is now several months behind schedule.

Fighting and the threat of attack by rebel groups severely delayed the removal of the weapons, analysts say.

The Syrian government approved the initiative last year after a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus left hundreds of people dead.

The US had threatened missile strikes on military sites in the country.

The final 8% of the 1,300-tonne stockpile was loaded on to ships in the Syrian port of Latakia on Monday, Mr Uzumcu said.

The chemical cargo is being shipped to a specially modified US naval vessel, the MV Cape Ray.

The destruction of the most toxic agents will take place on board, at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.

The remaining chemicals will be destroyed in Finland, the US and Britain.


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