Not fatally hazardous chemical weapons components can be easily moved out of Syria - Russian expert

The stockpiles of mustard gas, known also as Iprit, possessed by Syria should be destroyed on the spot, while other chemical weapons components can be taken for destruction outside the country, as they do not pose very serious danger as such, says Prof. Alexander Gorbovsky, a chemical weapons expert from the Russian Green Cross.

The stockpiles of mustard gas, known also as Iprit, possessed by Syria should be destroyed on the spot, while other chemical weapons components can be taken for destruction outside the country, as they do not pose very serious danger as such, says Prof. Alexander Gorbovsky, a chemical weapons expert from the Russian Green Cross.

"It is already known today that, as concerns warfare agents, Syria has only 300 tonnes of mustard gas. This is approximately 10 tank cars. The rest of the chemical weapons [possessed by Syria], including sarin and V-gases, are not in pure form but in the form of components. Therefore, these components can easily be transported to and destroyed at a simple chemical facility outside the country," Gorbovsky, who earlier headed a directorate at the Russian national body for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, said in an interview with Interfax-AVN.

Gorbovsky made the statement in commenting on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remark concerning the Syrian chemical weapons in an interview on National Public Radio.

"My hope is that much of this material will be moved as rapidly [as] possible into one location, and hopefully on a ship, and removed from the region," Kerry said.

Gorbovsky said the components that could be used to produce sarin and V-gases are not deadly toxic. "The Convention defines this chemical as a chemical weapon. This is a key precursor for obtaining sarin and a key precursor for obtaining V-gases. Therefore, these chemicals fall under the definition of chemical weapons, but in principle they absolutely do not pose deadly danger, for instance, in case of an accident," he said.

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