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Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons Proceeds

FILE - The Danish cargo ship Ark Futura, carrying 1,300 tons of Syrian chemical weapons to be destroyed, arrives at Gioia Tauro port, southern Italy, July 2, 2014.

The president of the U.N. Security Council for this month said Wednesday that the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program was moving toward completion.

Australian U.N. Ambassador Gary Quinlan said demolition of a dozen chemical weapons production facilities, seven hangars and five underground tunnels would be finished in mid-2015. He said the 15-nation Security Council had also learned that a facility used for ricin production must be destroyed. Syria disclosed it in September.

Quinlan said officials needed to verify the Syrian government's declarations about the extent of its poison gas arsenal and production capabilities.

Damascus agreed last year to eliminate its chemical weapons program after a sarin attack on Aug. 21, 2013, killed hundreds of people in Ghouta, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Damascus.

Under the agreement reached with Washington and Moscow, which averted threatened U.S. military action, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons oversaw the destruction of 1,300 tons of toxic gas chemicals that Syria declared to the Hague-based body.