The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says 14 private sector companies have submitted bids to destroy chemicals removed from Syria as part of international efforts to dismantle Damascus' poison gas and nerve agent program.

The companies, from countries including the United States, Britain, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, submitted tenders to destroy 500 metric tons of chemicals and waste material resulting from the destruction of other Syrian chemicals.

The chemicals to be destroyed by the private companies are regularly used in the pharmaceutical and other industries and can be safely disposed of at civilian facilities.

The tenders were opened Monday. The OPCW says it will now conduct "technical and commercial" evaluations of the bids before announcing early next month which companies will be awarded contracts.