Syria's remaining chemical facilities to be destroyed: UN

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Work on destroying Syria's last remaining chemical weapons production facilities will begin this month and should be completed next year, the UN Security Council heard on Wednesday.

Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag, who leads a UN mission to rid Syria of chemical weapons, told the council that 13 production facilities will be dismantled, Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan said.

"Preparations to commence the destruction of the 12 remaining production facilities - seven hangar and five underground tunnels - is due to commence later this month and is likely to be completed by the summer of 2015," Quinlan told reporters after the briefing.

Another facility producing ricin poison will also be destroyed, added Quinlan, whose country holds the presidency of the council.

After an August 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus that much of the international community blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's government, the regime agreed to turn over its chemical arsenal.

Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, told reporters that the destruction would start "this month, this week". A total of 1,300 metric tons of chemical weapons were removed from Syria and most of those were destroyed on board the US vessel Cape Ray under a deal reached between Russia and the United States.