Syria turned over another batch of raw materials and has now disposed of more than 86 percent of its chemical arsenal, according to a statement Tuesday from the agency overseeing the mammoth project to remove Syria's chemical weapons in accordance with a U.S.-Russian-brokered deal.
Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said in a statement that the materials were delivered to ships at the main port of Latakia and from there were taken to an offshore U.S. ship. The OPCW monitors the neutralizing and disposal process from the vessel.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki repeated the OPCW's figure of 86 percent at the midday briefing.
Psaki also said that authorities were seeking more information on claims of chlorine gas attacks, which, as Reuters reports today, could "expose a major loophole" in the removal deal and suggest that "chemical warfare could persist after the removal operation has finished." Psaki said the United States wouldn't be leading any investigation; she said such an inquiry would be under international auspices. From Reuters: In addition, chlorine gas that was never included on the list submitted to the OPCW is now allegedly being used on the battlefield, leading some countries to consider requesting an investigation, possibly through the United Nations. Attacks this month in several areas of the country share characteristics that have led analysts to believe that there is a coordinated chlorine campaign, with growing evidence that it is the government side dropping the bombs.