How will US destroy Syria chemical weapons?
A ship, two portable treatment plants and less than 90 days: that`s the plan the Pentagon has unveiled to destroy "hundreds of tons" of Syria`s most dangerous chemical weapons.
Washington: A ship, two portable treatment plants and less than 90 days: that`s the plan the Pentagon has unveiled to destroy "hundreds of tons" of Syria`s most dangerous chemical weapons.
After Albania refused to destroy the lethal "priority 1" chemical agents -- including mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve gas -- on its soil, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) turned to the United States.
Under an international agreement brokered to avoid US military strikes on the Damascus regime, Syria`s most dangerous chemical weapons have to be out of the country by a December 31 deadline.
The US proposal aims to take the process off land altogether and into international waters.
The Pentagon has already begun loading the necessary equipment on to the MV Cape Ray, a 650-foot (200-meter) cargo ship, part of a reserve fleet, at its Norfolk, Virginia naval base, although it has yet to receive formal orders to carry out the job.
The "priority 1" chemical agents, which must be destroyed by April 2014, are on the order of "hundreds of tons" -- or around "150 shipping containers" -- according to a senior US defence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It`s a subset of the total 1,290 tons of chemical weapons, ingredients and precursors Damascus has declared as part of the international agreement.
The OPCW says the Syrian Army will bring containers to the Lattakia port, where they will be loaded on to a third country`s ship.
It remains to be determined which country that will be, but Norway and Denmark have agreed to furnish all or some of these ships.
Once at the next port, the containers will be transferred over the course of 48 hours to the Cape Ray, which would likely conduct its neutralisation operations in international waters, according to the Pentagon official.
The US Defence Department is installing two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems -- portable treatment plants capable of "neutralising" the most dangerous Syrian chemical agents.