Chemical weapons removed from Syria - FOX Carolina 21

Chemical weapons removed from Syria

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The organization in charge of the removal says the final remnants of the 1,300 ton stockpile have already left the country. (Source: FOX) The organization in charge of the removal says the final remnants of the 1,300 ton stockpile have already left the country. (Source: FOX)

LONDON (FOX) - As the civil war rages on in Syria, the U.N.-backed organization responsible for destroying the Assad government's chemical weapons program is reporting a big milestone: The last of the country's chemical stockpiles has been removed.

They're calling it a major landmark.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons - or OPCW- announced on Monday they've removed the last of the Assad government's stockpiles from Syria.

"The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura," said Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The organization says the final remnants of the 1,300 ton stockpile have already left the country en route to a U.S. Navy vessel, where they will be on their way to being destroyed in the coming months.

"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. And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight time frames," Uzumcu said.

But questions remain about how effective the OPCW has been. It acknowledges there's still a lot of work to do - including the destruction of the chemical weapons facilities themselves.

Nearly a dozen in all.

And investigations into the Syrian government's use of chlorine gas.

That's a weapon they didn't have to destroy under the disarmament plan agreed to last year.

Secretary of State John Kerry says those are all serious issues which need to be addressed:

"Even as we mark this moment of removing 100 percent of the declared weapons, we understand that our work is not finished to ensure the complete elimination of Syria's CW program," Kerry said.

Chlorine is a toxin not normally classified as a weapon of mass destruction. The OPCW is reporting that the Syrian government's forces use it regularly against rebel groups.

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