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Syrian Regime Files More Specifics on Chemical-Arms Stocks
Syria supplied an international watchdog with more chemical-arms inventory data after monitors found inaccuracies in an earlier declaration, Reuters reports.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's government pledged to surrender its chemical-warfare materials amid accusations that it used sarin nerve agent in a large-scale assault on the edge of Damascus last August. The regime offered a rundown of its arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last year, but other governments since then have highlighted concerns over inconsistencies between that filing and assets later found inside the conflict-torn country, the wire service reported on Thursday.
Insiders said the Syrian government's initial declaration included only approximate quantities of the warfare chemicals in storage at installations across the Middle Eastern nation.
According to one envoy, "discrepancies" emerged between numbers in that document and amounts seen by auditors for a U.N.-OPCW oversight operation.
Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the global chemical-weapons agency, verified that the Assad regime had submitted additional information on its arsenal.
"For some of the stockpile, ranges of quantities had been provided. Now they are being replaced with specific amounts," he said.
Luhan said the more exact quantities became known as international officials reviewed the materials and prepared them for shipment to a coastal pickup point. Foreign cargo vessels are transporting the materials from Syria's Latakia seaport to international destruction sites.
The spokesman said the latest filing includes no materials that previously went unreported. Last year, Damascus indicated it held about 1,300 metric tons of chemical-warfare agents and ingredients.
One OPCW insider downplayed the new document's significance.
"Sometimes information is not complete, or not in a format we require. It's not extraordinary," according to the source. "But what they have submitted needs to be seen to come to any conclusions and I better not speculate about what's in there."
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