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Russia Says Syrian Toxin Removal Deadline Won't Be Met

UN chemical weapons experts, wearing gas masks, inspect one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb earlier this year.
A Russian diplomat says a December 31 deadline won’t be met for removing from Syria deadly toxins used for the government's chemical weapons.

Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s disarmament department, was quoted as saying on December 27 that the chemicals haven't yet been delivered to Syrian ports to be transported by foreign ships for safe destruction away from the Syrian war zone.

He added that the date for the operation probably wouldn’t be announced in advance to reduce the chances of disruption by militants.

The Syrian government has agreed to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles by next June under a Russian-U.S. agreement overseen by international monitors.

Toxins that can be used in sarin, VX gas, and other agents are to be transported out of the port of Lakatia.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax