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US Offers to Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons

U.N. chemical weapons experts put samples collected from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in their vehicle, in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus, Aug. 28, 2013.
The United States has offered to help destroy some of the most lethal of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile at an offshore facility.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons said Saturday the U.S. government would contribute a "destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralize" the weapons.

The Hague-based organization is responsible for overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons under an agreement that put off a threatened U.S.-missile strike in retaliation for a sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus.

Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint United Nations and OPCW Syria team, said the weapons must first be packed and shipped from multiple sites across the country to Syria's largest port, Latakia.

Loaders must then transport the weapons onto ships owned by other OPCW members before a second hand-off to U.S. vessels.

The chemicals will not be destroyed in Syrian waters.

More than 120,000 people have died in Syria's civil conflict. The violence started in March 2011, when government forces cracked down on protesters calling for reform.

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