LONDON, January 07, 21:46 /ITAR-TASS/. Syria has moved the first batch of its chemical weapons out of the country after transporting it from two sites to the port of Latakia and onto a Danish ship, the Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“The vessel has been accompanied by naval escorts provided by Denmark and Norway, as well as the Syrian Arab Republic," OPCW said in a statement. "It will remain at sea awaiting the arrival of additional priority chemical materials at the port."
Earlier on Tuesday, the Al Mayadeen television channel reported that the first batch of Syria’s chemical weapons had been delivered to the port of Latakia. The containers are to be loaded aboard two bulk carriers provided by Denmark and Norway. According to Reuters, containers were loaded aboard only a Danish vessel.
The two bulk carriers and two coastal guard ships sailed off from Cyprus’ Limassol three days ago. On their way to an Italian port, these ships will be convoyed by the Russian Petr Velikiy missile cruiser and the Chinese Yancheng frigate. Apart from that, Russia has lent heavy-duty trucks to take poisonous substances from Damascus to Latakia.
Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations (OPCW-UN) joint mission, said that a slight delay would be no obstacle for the international community in this operation. All chemical weapons are to be taken out of Syria by February 5, 2014. The most poisonous agents are to be destroyed outside Syria by March 31, 2014, the rest - by June 30, 2014.