The Assad regime has given details of its toxic weapons programme to the world’s chemical weapons watchdog.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body tasked with dismantling Syria’s stockpile of nerve agents, said that Syria had given an “initial declaration” outlining its programme.
It will not release the details of the declaration and is now seeking to verify what has been outlined.
OPCW is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s arsenal of poison gas and nerve agents as well as its production facilities.
Under a US/Russia agreement brokered last weekend, under which Syria is expected to put its chemical weapons stocks under international control, inspectors are due to be on the ground in Syria by November.
However, on Thursday Russia’s President Vladimir Putin conceded he could not be 100% certain that his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al Assad, would fully give up his deadly weapons stash.
American officials said last week that the US and Russia agreed that Syria had roughly 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons agents and precursors, including blister agents, such as sulfur and mustard gas and nerve agents like sarin.
OPCW postponed a meeting of its executive council, which was due to take place on Sunday, at which it was to discuss how to dismantle the country’s chemical weapons programme.
The body said it would set another date for the meeting.
In an interview with Fox News earlier this week, Mr Assad said he was committed to destroying his stockpile of chemical arms – but warned it would take a year to do so and coast at least £600m ($1bn).
e said: “It needs a lot of money, it needs about one billion (US dollars). If the American administration is ready to pay those money, and to take responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?”
UN weapons inspectors on Tuesday released a report in which they said there was “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used in an attack in Damascus on August 21.
According to reports and chilling pictures of the horrific attack, 1,400 people were killed, including scores of children.
In their 38-page report, the UN inspectors said chemical weapons had been used on a “relatively large scale”.
Rockets tested at the attack site were found to contain sarin, while the area in which they landed was contaminated with the deadly gas.