US President Barack Obama announced yesterday that Syria’s declared chemical weapons on board the US’ shop Cape Ray have been destroyed, the Anadolu news agency reported.
In a statement issued by the White House Obama said: “Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.”
Obama commended the US military and civilian professionals who were “able to end the work on board the US ship several weeks ahead of schedule”.
He also praised the role of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) whose efforts have “led to rid the Syrian regime of its chemical weapons. It further advances our collective goal to ensure that the regime [of Syrian President Bashar Assad] cannot use its chemical arsenal against the Syrian people and sends a clear message that the use of these abhorrent weapons has consequences and will not be tolerated by the international community.”
The Syrian regime used chemical weapons to shell areas in rural Damascus on August 21 resulting in the killing of more than 1,400 civilians and wounded more than 10,000 others, according to sources from the Syrian opposition. The attack prompted Obama to announce that the US will launch limited strikes against the Syrian regime; however an agreement with Russia, the regime’s main ally, deterred the attack in exchange for disarming the regime of its chemical weapons stockpile.