A shipment of chemicals from Syria’s stockpile arrived in the United Kingdom on Tuesday to be destroyed at a specialist waste facility.
A Ministry of Defence statement said that the chemicals were delivered on a Danish ship to Marchwood Port in the south of England.
Under the terms of an agreement brokered by the United States and Russia, the U.K has accepted 50 tons of hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride from Syria, along with 150 tons of “B” precursors which only become toxic when mixed with “A” category chemicals to make a nerve agent.
A government spokesperson said in the statement that the plans for their destruction in the U.K. result from the united efforts of the international community – “first to force [Syrian President Bashar] Assad to give up his chemical stockpile, then, despite constant obstruction and delay from [Syrian capital] Damascus, to remove that stockpile from Syria for destruction overseas.”
He added that the U.K. can take pride in its role in destroying a significant proportion of Assad’s stockpile.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations are overseeing the operation, with Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, Germany, the U.S. and China, playing “key roles,” according to the statement.
The deal for the destruction of the stockpile was reached by the U.S. and Russia in September of last year, after an international outcry following a chemical weapons attack on a suburb of Damascus.
Syria has been gripped by fighting since Assad’s regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict that has spiraled into a civil war.
At least 100,000 people were recorded as being killed in the last count in July 2013, however the U.N. has stopped updating its death toll due to difficulties in verifying casualties.