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Providing a resource for arms control treaty implementers to assist them with keeping
up-to-date on the issues and events critical to understanding and eliminating chemical and biological weapons.

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Features news, articles, think-pieces and documents of relevance to the CWC or the BWC produced by non-government sources. Such sources include foreign government statements, news media, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and other institutions.

Botswanan Justice Minister Tables CW Prohibition Bill in Parliament
The Botswana Guardian in English, 11 July 2014; accessed via Open Source Center
Botswana’s anti-chemical weapons Bill has reached parliament and the penalties are stiff including life imprisonment. The piece of legislation known as the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Bill (Bill No.12 of 2014) is for the national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention focusing on among others, preventing the creation, manufacture, and transit of chemical warfare materials and their precursors.

Defence, justice and security minister Ndelu Seretse on Wednesday tabled the Bill in parliament, which imposes a maximum penalty of P25 million [pula] on individuals for a single contravention and life imprisonment. Section 12 (1) of the Bill prohibits any person (unless authorised) from producing, using, acquiring, possessing, transferring and importing or exporting a Schedule 1 chemical or its precursor. According to the Bill, Schedule 1 lists toxic chemicals that include sulfur mustards and lewisite.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes lewisite as an extremely toxic, arsenic-containing blister agent (vesicant) that affects the lungs and causes whole-body (systemic) effects.

It was developed as a potential chemical warfare agent (military designation), but has not been used on the battlefield. Exposure to large amounts can be fatal. Contravention of Section 12 of the Chemical Weapons Act draws a steep penalty of P25 million or life imprisonment, or both.

Other stiff penalties are found at Section 13 (3) where anyone contravening the section commits an offence and is liable to a fine of P3 million or to imprisonment for a term of 20 years, or to both. The Act under Section 14 prohibits any person (except one authorised by the Act) from receiving, transferring, importing or exporting Schedule 3 chemicals without first notifying the Authority.

A person who contravenes this section is liable to a fine of P1.5 million or to imprisonment for a term of 10 years, or to both. The Act provides for the establishment of a Chemical Weapons Management Authority led by a director.

Also a Board to be chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security will be formed. Other members of the Board will include nominees from the ministry of agriculture, ministry of health, Attorney General Chambers, Botswana Police Service and the Botswana Defence Force.

The director will be empowered to appoint inspectors who will in turn have powers at any reasonable time to enter any place with reasonable force if necessary and as may be permitted by a warrant and inspect the place. The inspectors will also at any given time, "request any person in, at or on the place to give to the inspector access to any area, container or thing in, at or on the place." Under this law an inspector shall not be liable to be sued in any civil court in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by such inspector, if the thing is done or omitted to be done "bona fide in the course of the operations of the Authority, render that inspector personally liable to an action, claim, demand."

Soligenix Announces Combination Ricin, Anthrax Vaccine
Bryan Cohen, BioPrepWatch, 11 July 2014;
Soligenix, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced on Wednesday that its combination ricin and anthrax vaccine induces protective immunity to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin exposure.

Soligenix, which conducted the studies under a $9.4 million cooperative grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, found that its RiVax candidate ricin vaccine and VeloThrax candidate anthrax vaccine each induced antibodies when administered as a single vaccine. When combined, the dual vaccine induced antibodies that were reactive against both toxins and detected until at least 200 days after the immunization regimens.

The combined vaccine provided protection from exposure to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin for at least six months after two vaccinations. The results suggest that long-term immunity can be achieved through simultaneous vaccination.

"We are pleased that we have been able to show that the combination of vaccines for these two very important biothreats can be accomplished," Christopher Schaber, the president and CEO of Soligenix, said. "The demonstration of simultaneous immunity to ricin toxin and anthrax is a step towards multivalent vaccines that can be used in the event of a national emergency. Both of these vaccines are being developed for military personnel and emergency first responders, and thus it would be extremely useful if the vaccines could be administered simultaneously without compromising the response to either vaccine, while still providing protection against whichever toxin might be encountered."

Soligenix collaborated on the studies with the Wadsworth Institute of the New York State Department of Health. Preclinical studies evaluating the production of antibody levels and survival after toxin challenge demonstrated the potency of the vaccine combination.

"Multivalent vaccines will achieve more efficient vaccination with fewer injections; this has the potential to be a distinct advantage in deployment of vaccines if any biothreat agent is actually used as a weapon and will be more useful for vaccination of military personnel and first responders," Schaber said. "We intend to develop the combination vaccine using ThermoVax, our proprietary system for stabilizing vaccines for stockpiling and for distribution of vaccines outside of normal cold chain requirements."

Soligenix develops biodefense vaccines and therapeutics, as well as products that treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need.

Syrian Chemical Factories May Be Saved Under Global "Compromise"
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire, 09 July 2014;
Syria's regime may be able to retain parts of its shuttered chemical-arms factories under "compromise" terms devised by [the (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)] a global watchdog agency.

The United States could endorse the concept in order to finalize a plan this week for dealing with the dozen contested sites, even though doing so would require making "serious" concessions to President Bashar Assad's government, said Robert Mikulak, Washington's envoy to the OPCW. "We are not, however, prepared to go further or engage in further haggling," Mikulak told the agency's 41-nation governing board [the OPCW Executive Council] on Tuesday.

He indicated that the plan from the agency's Netherlands-based staff would impose new "tunnel perimeters" and "more effective monitoring measures" for at least some of Syria's five underground facilities, while demolishing seven fortified hangars. Mikulak did not elaborate further on the proposal. Additional details were not immediately available.

Washington previously rejected proposals by Assad's regime to neutralize the 12 sites through measures short of full demolition. International authorities last year called for destruction of the sites by March, as part of a global effort to dismantle the Syrian government's chemical-weapons arsenal.

"From the start, Syria has engaged in a concerted effort to retain these 12 former chemical weapons production facilities," Mikulak said. "If Syria rejects this compromise proposal and continues its intransigence, there must be consequences."

Assad's regime last month finished handing over hundreds of tons of warfare agents as part of the international disarmament operation. The government agreed to relinquish its chemical stockpile in the wake of a 2013 nerve-agent attack that killed more than 1,400 people, according to U.S. estimates.

Chemical Security Bill Passes House; Democrats Eye Changes in Senate
Douglas P. Guarino, Global Security Newswire, 09 July 2014;
The House passed a bill that would extend the life of a controversial chemical security program on Tuesday, but some Democrats are hoping a Senate version expected later this month will enable tougher rules.

The House bill, H.R. 4007, would authorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards of the Homeland Security Department for three years. The program, which is meant to prevent terrorists from using industrial sites in the United States for creating massive explosions, has previously been renewed annually through the congressional appropriations process.

Proponents of the bill - including DHS officials, industry leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle - say the legislation is needed in order to provide the program with stability that they say will make it more effective and provide companies with regulatory certainty.

Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said on the House floor Tuesday that the bill, which the lower chamber ultimately approved by voice vote, was a "good start." There is "more work to be done," however, Thompson said.

Before final legislation reaches the president's desk, lawmakers should add provisions to protect whistleblowers raising chemical-security concerns, along with language that would mandate consulting with workers during the development of site-protection plans, Thompson said.

Lawmakers also must address the fact that the current bill does not include so-called inherently safer technology provisions that would give DHS officials the authority to require specific safety and security upgrades in certain cases, said Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Industry opposes such provisions, but they are favored by labor unions and environmentalists. Thompson also expressed disappointment that an exemption for water treatment facilities would continue under the current bill, but said the legislation's requirement that the department conduct an assessment of the chemical security risks that such facilities pose was a step in the right direction.

Along with other Democrats, Thompson said he would try work with senators to make changes to the bill. Representative Patrick Meehan (R-Penn.), said he expected that the Senate Homeland Security could mark up a companion bill this month. Meehan is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies that initially approved the House bill.

WWI - When Chemical Weapons Killed 90,000 (Opinion)
Paul Schulte, CNN (via ABC KSPR 33 News), 09 July 2014;
[Editor’s Note: As is the case with all commercial news articles contained on this website, the following article is provided solely as an item of potential interest. Some information may be inaccurate or incomplete and the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S Department of Defense.]
World War I ushered in an era of chemical weapons use that lingers, lethally, into the present day. The German chlorine attacks against French, Algerian, British and Canadian troops around Ypres - site of the war's most relentless fighting - in April 1915 presaged a world in which weapons of mass destruction [WMD] became at least a permanent background anxiety and often a source of intense terror.

World War I, which began nearly 100 years ago, linked science with mass killing and, despite preventative treaties such as the 1900 Hague Convention, created a lasting precedent. Scientific progress now brought new fears as well as hope.

Other combatant nations responded to their maximum extent, with rapidly developed mixtures of retaliation-in-kind and protective technologies and procedures. Perhaps 1 million chemical casualties were inflicted, to little overall military advantage. Although fatalities were eventually kept relatively low, at about 90,000 in total, there was, and remains, deep revulsion at slow, agonizing deaths from tissue damage through blistering of the skin caused by innovations such as mustard gas or drowning through destruction of the lungs.

Many survivors were left blind or permanently disabled. Human distress, dread, "gas fright" and their long-term psychiatric consequences are impossible to calculate. They may have fatefully helped intensify Hitler's psychopathology as he lay brooding upon the Armistice in a military hospital, temporarily blinded by British mustard gas.

Later, in the Geneva Gas Protocol of 1925, the world tried to address its WMD problem through a collective promise of "no first chemical or bacteriological use," backed by uncontrolled arsenals, which it was hoped would deter treaty breach by the hideously plausible and familiar threat of retaliation.

That gamble held precariously in World War II but not in hidden, or conveniently overlooked, one-sided campaigns conducted in remote theaters. Continued secret research created still more efficient nerve gases, blatantly employed by Saddam Hussein's forces in the 1980s against Iranians and Kurds. Then the "international honeymoon" period following the end of the Cold War allowed the negotiation of total, monitored and inspected elimination of all chemical weapons stocks and production facilities under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

But World War I and its aftermath have left discouraging precedents.

Although banned, in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, from keeping any chemical weapons, Germany secretly maintained formidable capacities. Its specialists went on to set up joint trials and research facilities in the USSR and to pioneer the whole class of nerve agents. Cheating in arms-control treaties, especially with the assistance of third parties, has remained a lasting political anxiety and an intelligence priority ever since.

We now also know that during World War I, German agents tried systematically to infect Allied livestock with glanders (a serious bacterial disease, transmissible to humans but mainly affecting horses and mules). This was the insidious, but fortunately not then very successful, birth of covert scientific biological warfare - which, despite the unverifiable and evidently broken Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1971, now persists as an uneliminable security nightmare.

So we are all still partially breathing the yellow-green poison cloud that Nobel laureate Fritz Haber determinedly developed and the generals of the German High Command, locked into the first scientific Total War, reluctantly authorized. (The suicides, apparently through shame and disgust, of both Haber's wife, Clara, and Hermann, one of his sons, seem to add further intimate casualties to his innovation.)

Haber's weaponization of chlorine for the second Battle of Ypres heralded a period of destructive technological dynamism in which we still live, when, repeatedly, as Bertolt Brecht observed:

"Out of the libraries come the killers.
Mothers stand despondently waiting,
Hugging their children and searching the sky,
Looking for the latest inventions of the professors."

And today, the news remains bad. Mothers still scan the sky for incoming chemicals. Chlorine is back.

After 1,400 people were killed with highly efficient sarin nerve agent in the rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus in August, the Syrian government agreed to join the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention and cooperate in its own chemical disarmament, as an alternative to U.S. punitive strikes.

Before completion of that process, reports repeatedly emerged in early 2014 of new attacks using chlorine, which as an industrial chemical used in water purification cannot be removed from the country, although employing it against humans is unquestionably forbidden. Chlorine's lethality, even against unprotected civilians, may be unimpressively low by modern standards, but it reliably continues to terrify.

And while German culpability in the gas attacks in Flanders 100 years ago was clear, the United Nations is still unable to agree, or even yet formally investigate, which side has been conducting chemical attacks of any kind in the long Syrian civil war.

Chemical warfare was universally criminalized in September under UN Security Council Resolution 2118. But finally eliminating or even punishing the homicidal employment of chemicals in organized violence is a diplomatic as much as a legal, technical or military problem. It turns out that some international behavior over chemical killing remains as toxic as in 1915.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Mikulak to Receive 2014 MRIGlobal Citation Award
Digital Journal, 08 July 2014;
MRIGlobal today announced that Robert Mikulak, Ph.D., U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will be recognized with the MRIGlobal Board of Directors and Trustees 2014 Citation Award. The award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies leadership in science, business, academia, or the humanities. The award will be presented to Ambassador Mikulak at the MRIGlobal Annual Dinner, which will be held October 14 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City.

Ambassador Mikulak has dedicated more than 40 years of personal and professional leadership to the global reduction and prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.

In 2010, the U.S. Senate named Dr. Mikulak as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. His work focuses on making the world safer and building international controls to prevent chemical weapons threats. Most recently, Ambassador Mikulak has played a key role in the unprecedented international effort to require Syria to eliminate its entire chemical weapons program.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is located in The Hague, Netherlands, received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its "extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons." The organization announced on June 23, 2014, the removal of the last remaining chemical stockpile from Syria, one key step in ensuring that Syria no longer poses a chemical weapons threat.

"At MRIGlobal, we have been privileged to contribute research that supports our Nation's work to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons," said Thomas M. Sack, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. "We strongly support a goal of nonproliferation of chemical and biological weapons and we recognize Ambassador Mikulak's life-long commitment and leadership toward an international policy to rid the world of chemical weapons."

Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Dr. Mikulak was the Director of the Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. In this position, he led the development of policy relating to prohibition of chemical and biological weapons, including negotiation and implementation of international agreements.

Earlier, from 1993 to 1996, Dr. Mikulak served as the Deputy Head of the United States Delegation to the Chemical Weapons Convention Preparatory Commission in The Hague, Netherlands. Before this, he served in the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for 22 years, holding a series of increasingly responsible positions related to prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.

He was a senior U.S. negotiator during the U.S.-Soviet negotiations of 1989 and 1990, which led to reduction agreements and the multilateral 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans chemical weapons globally. Ambassador Mikulak holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry.

About MRIGlobal

MRIGlobal, a not-for-profit research and development organization, delivers solutions in global health, national security and defense, and energy and the environment. The organization performs scientific research, advanced engineering, and program integration and management for clients in government, industry, and academia. Established in 1944 as Midwest Research Institute, MRIGlobal is based in Kansas City, Missouri, operates in nine states and Washington, D.C. MRIGlobal employs more than 500 and manages 2,600-plus workers through management and operations programs with government clients.

MRIGlobal is one of two partners in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, for the U.S. Department of Energy.

UK Memo Details Chemical, Biological and Radiological Program
Lisa Sievers, BioPrepWatch, 07 July 2014;
The United Kingdom’s [UK’s] Defence Science and Technology Laboratory [DSTL] released a memo on Tuesday detailing its chemical, biological and radiological [CBR] program. The UK CBR program covers both capabilities and facilities in responding to and countering threats. The program provides decision makers with timely information relating to an attack from a weapon of mass destruction.

The CBR program conducts research into chemical and biological agents to develop protective measures. The research includes the development of medical countermeasures, vaccines and post exposure treatments. The program also develops physical protection products, including CBR suits, respirators and collective protection, as well as tools for the decontamination of personnel, equipment and infrastructure.

The ultimate goal of the CBR program is to maintain the UK’s sovereign capability to assess and respond to current and emerging threats to the country and its wider interests. That capability includes skills and techniques to handle CBR agents and analytical techniques to identify and quantify their toxicity.

The policy of the British government is to maintain political and military freedom of action despite the threat or use of CBR weapons. The projected budget for the UK’s CBR program for 2014-2015 is approximately $136 million. A quarter of the funding for the CBR program is delivered externally.  

On Foreign Policy, Obama Is Succeeding (Opinion)
Boston Globe, 07 July 2014;
American disapproval of President Obama’s foreign policy has shot up recently, especially as the situation in Iraq worsens. Democrats and Republicans are increasingly alike in their unhappiness, with former Obama administration officials like Anne-Marie Slaughter bitterly denouncing the White House as "blind" and Hillary Clinton "getting distance" from the president’s decisions. But here is a question for all those deriding Obama’s failures: What if the nihilists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were armed with chemical weapons?

Lost in last month’s explosive news from Iraq was the United Nations announcement that "Syria has destroyed all declared production, mixing, and filling equipment and munitions, as well as many buildings associated with its declared chemical weapons program." The June 30 removal deadline set by the Security Council last September has, against all odds and most predictions, been met - a success attributable to an aggressive multinational program administered jointly by Moscow and Washington - even through Russia’s provocations in Ukraine.

All of Bashar Assad’s "declared" chemical arsenal is gone. Even if the Syrian dictator has somehow kept a small lethal hoard, it is necessarily remote and locked. As one expert put it, "The near elimination of one of the two largest operational chemical weapons arsenals in the world, in the midst of the chaos of a civil war no less, is remarkable." Less than a year ago, sarin gas was loosed on civilians in Syria, probably by Assad, action that horrified the world and prompted Obama’s September initiatives. Now Assad is party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. If, instead of joining Russia to forge the international alliance that made this triumph possible, Obama had fired off a barrage of cruise missiles, almost certainly escalating the savage violence in Syria, who believes the horror of chemical warfare would have been contained?

And who believes the fanatics of ISIS would not have taken advantage of that deadly circumstance? Last month, those jihadists, storming through Iraq, took control of an abandoned chemical weapons site that had belonged to Saddam Hussein. Fortunately it was "a wasteland full of destroyed chemical munitions, razed structures, and unusable war-ravaged facilities," as a CIA assessment put it. Whatever is left of Hussein’s gravely degraded material threatens the militants moving it more than anyone they could target, but the seizure suggests what the ISIS dream strategy includes. If, by contrast to the Hussein remnant, Syria’s supremely usable chemical weapons had been rendered vulnerable to ready theft by escalated chaos over the last year, much less if they been deployed and unleashed instead of removed and destroyed, ISIS could be assumed by now to have turned Baghdad into a poisoned charnel house.

In the larger region, the elimination of Syria’s chemical arsenal itself advances the entire anti-proliferation movement that Obama long ago put at the center of his purpose. Any further unleashing of chemical weapons, whether by Assad or ISIS, would have significantly increased regional pressures for the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction of all kinds, undercutting especially the delicate and ongoing process of constraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions. That negotiations with Iran, which may come to climax this month, have continued through this year’s bedlam is another ignored signal of Obama foreign policy prowess. Steps are being taken back from the WMD abyss.

Political leaders rarely get credit for the disasters they avert. But it is a failure of the imagination not to have in mind, as one evaluates Obama’s performance, that the field on which he operates is strewn with mines - and that armed intervention is highly unlikely to make things better instead of worse. Obama is consciously attempting to change a failed international power dynamic, moving from a century of military diktat to a strategy, as he called it at West Point, of "empowering partners" to advance American interests, human rights, and the resolution of conflict.

But in order for such leadership to actually bring into being structures and networks capable of reshaping international politics, the US citizenry has a role to play - liberals as well as conservatives. We must surrender our habit of magical thinking about American power, understanding that a new world is struggling to be born. President Obama is speaking of that world. The more distressed its dangers make us, the more we should give him the benefit of our uncertainty.

James Carroll writes regularly for the Globe. His latest novel, published this month, is "Warburg in Rome."

Aberdeen Team’s Possible Model for Future CW Destruction
Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun, July 03, 2014;
Officials say shipboard weapons destruction could serve as a model for future missions. After months of waiting, a team of chemists and engineers from Aberdeen Proving Ground is now ready to begin the historic destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The work is to take place aboard a container ship specially fitted with equipment to neutralize Syrian stocks of the World War I blister agent sulfur mustard and the sarin precursor DF. The team of some 64 civilians from the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground sailed from Italy on Wednesday for an undisclosed location in international waters, where they plan to destroy the materials under heavy international guard.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad agreed to surrender the weapons last year amid international outrage over a chemical attack near Damascus that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians. The attack was among the bloodiest incidents in a 4-year-old conflict between the regime and rebel fighters that has left more than 100,000 dead and displaced more than a quarter of the Syrian population.

"The mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program has been a major undertaking marked by an extraordinary international cooperation," said Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

"Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict," Uzumcu said. "And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight timeframes."

The Edgewood specialists intend to use equipment they designed and built specifically for the mission. Officials have described the first-ever shipboard destruction of chemical weapons as a potential model.

The container ship MV Cape Ray received the so-called Priority 1 chemicals this week in the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said. Their destruction is expected to take from 60 to 120 days.

The mustard and DF to be neutralized by the Edgewood team are the most dangerous of Syria's weapons stocks. Other materials are to be destroyed or rendered harmless at commercial facilities in the United States, Britain and Finland.

Russia and China provided security as the materials were transported from Syria to Italy aboard Danish and Norwegian ships. Representatives from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is based in The Hague, are monitoring the operation.

The Edgewood specialists have decades of experience in destroying chemical weapons - but always at highly secure and often remote facilities, on land, built for the purpose. Now, for the first time, they're planning to do the work aboard ship, on the open sea.

The system they have designed is based on the technology that they used to destroy the U.S. stock of mustard agent at Aberdeen Proving Ground under the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997.

The Cape Ray has been fitted with two units of the new Field Deployable Hydrolysis System. Operators do not handle the materials directly; the chemicals and their neutralizing agents are mixed in a closed container, and the resulting effluent is to be discharged into closed containers. The operators wear masks with air hoses.

The Edgewood team was expecting 540 tons of DF and 26 tons of mustard. Both materials are neutralized in the same way: They are mixed with water.

The liquid that is produced is acidic. Team members plan to add chemicals to bring the pH level above neutral, creating a caustic material that some have likened to Drano. In that form, they say, it will be safer to store and transport to its eventual disposal site.

Officials say safety, not speed, will be their priority. They have said the operation will show that there is now a safe, environmentally responsible way to dispose of chemical weapons that can be deployed anywhere in the world.

The Edgewood specialists had been waiting since January while Syria missed several deadlines to deliver the materials. Under the initial timeline set last year by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the destruction was to have been completed by Monday.

Syrian officials blamed the delays on the challenges of transporting the chemicals out of the country amid heavy fighting.

Teams from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations began securing Syrian weapons sites in early October, and the Syrian government handed over the last of its declared stocks last week.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said this week that the chemicals were transferred from the Danish ship Ark Futura to the Cape Ray "without incident."

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