Syrian Warfare Chemicals Arrive in U.K.

Workers seen in March at a chemical-arms destruction plant in Munster, Germany. Roughly 200 metric tons of Syrian warfare substances arrived in the United Kingdom as part of an international plan to destroy President Bashar Assad's chemical arsenal.
Workers seen in March at a chemical-arms destruction plant in Munster, Germany. Roughly 200 metric tons of Syrian warfare substances arrived in the United Kingdom as part of an international plan to destroy President Bashar Assad's chemical arsenal. (Nigel Treblin/Getty Images)

Nearly 200 metric tons of Syrian warfare chemicals arrived at a British military facility prior to their planned destruction, the Press Association reports.

The Danish vessel Ark Futura carried 194 metric tons of materials to the United Kingdom's Marchwood Military Port, the news agency reported on Tuesday. The bulk of the substances is slated for transfer by road to a disposal plant at Ellesmere Port.

A senior official at Veolia Environmental Services, which operates the plant, said "the Syrian chemicals will be safely destroyed under our strict environmental permit [with the British defense ministry] and in line with our high environmental, health, safety and operating standards."

"We will ... be destroying [44 metric tons] of hydrochloric acid, which is used in school laboratories and is a standard industrial chemical that is safely and routinely processed at Ellesmere Port, as well as the original [150 metric tons] of 'B' precursors," added Estelle Brachlianoff, the contractor's executive vice president for the United Kingdom and Ireland.

A Veolia spokeswoman said the United Kingdom "is making other arrangements for the remainder of the additional [50-metric ton] consignment, which consists of [six metric tons] of hydrogen fluoride, to be treated elsewhere via a different process."

The defense ministry said the materials are no more hazardous than industrial substances routinely handled in the country. A U.S. vessel in the Mediterranean Sea is destroying the most dangerous chemical agents surrendered by President Bashar Assad's government. The Syrian regime agreed to surrender its chemical arsenal after a sarin nerve agent strike killed hundreds of people last August. The attack prompted Western powers to contemplate a military intervention.

July 16, 2014
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Nearly 200 metric tons of Syrian warfare chemicals arrived at a British military facility prior to their planned destruction, the Press Association reports.