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Middle East

Syria submits details of chemical weapons to the Hague

Chemical arms watchdog said it has received an “initial declaration” from Syria outlining its weapons program

Syria has begun handing details of its chemical weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, the organisation confirmed today.

It is understood that Syria posses around 1,000 tonnes of chemical toxins, and has agreed to destroy them under a joint Russian-US proposal designed to avert a US military strike on Syria.

The country was given a deadline of Saturday to hand over a full list of chemical arms within their possession. Under the US-Russia brokered deal, inspectors would be on the ground in Syria by November to assess and oversee the destruction of chemical arms.

The chemical arms watchdog said it has received an “initial declaration” from Syria outlining its weapons program.

“We have received part of the verification and we expect more,” OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said.

A UN diplomat, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed the details of their chemical weapons had been submitted, adding: “It's quite long ... and being translated.”

The organisation's core members are due to vote - probably next week - on a plan aimed at fast-tracking the destruction of Syria's chemical stockpiles by mid-2014.

The plan has emerged from a US threat of military attack and a burst of international diplomacy after a poison gas strike killed over 300 hundred civilians on the outskirts of Damascus last month.

Luhan says the organization will not release details of what the declaration contains.

They are now assessing fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.