Syrian Chemical Weapons To Be Removed in Russian Armored Vehicles

December 20, 2013
Russian chemical weapons disposal team |

The Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmed Üzümcü, issued a statement saying that Russia will provide a large number of armored trucks to participate in the operation to remove Syrian chemical warfare agents.

The operation to transport chemical weapons to the port of Latakia will involve, inter alia, using liquid storage tanks and other logistical equipment provided by the Russian side, says the OPCW statement.

Ahmed Üzümcü also said that Russia may participate in providing security during the loading of chemical weapons at the port and the transportation of the cargo in Syrian territorial waters, according to RT.

The OPCW chief reminded that the Syrian authorities will be responsible for the delivery of chemicals to Latakia. Furthermore, Damascus is responsible for the security of this arsenal up to the moment it is loaded on foreign ships.

Üzümcü encouraged member countries to urgently make contributions into a fund to finance the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.

The OPCW director said that the fund currently has €9.8 million, with another €750 000 expected from Finland and South Korea. The Japanese government will provide $15 million, according to RIA Novosti.

“Given the significant amounts that will be required, I urge member states to consider participation in a special fund to support the successful completion of this task,” said Üzümcü.

According to him, the OPCW does not rule out delays in the process of the Syrian chemical arsenal.

Üzümcü also specified that Denmark and Norway will provide ships and military escorts for the transportation of chemicals from Syria to the American ship, and facilities for their subsequent destruction.

It has to be recalled that in early December, experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN visited the port city of Latakia in northwestern Syria, and approved its selection as the site for the removal of toxic substances from the country for disposal.

Syria signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Chemical Weapons on October 14. Then the authorities declared 1.3 tons of chemicals and precursors used for production of chemical weapons, as well as more than 1.2 thousand unfilled munitions. In late October, all the declared equipment used to produce chemical weapons was destroyed. The round of inspecting facilities associated with chemical weapons was also completed.

In November, the OPCW declared that by December 17, it would will develop a plan to destroy chemical weapons outside Syria.