Last of Syrian chemical weapons arrives in Italy

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Updated at 12:45 pm: A Danish freighter carrying Syrian chemical weapons arrived at a port in southern Italy on Wednesday ahead of their destruction at sea.

The weapons are to be transferred to a US military ship and then destroyed in international waters in the final phase of a program to rid Syria of its chemical arms stockpile.

The port of Gioia Tauro has stepped up security for the shipment's arrival, sealing off access roads and barring entry to any non-authorized people, while a military helicopter flew overhead.

The chemical agents will be transferred from the Danish ship the Ark Futura to the US cargo vessel MV Cape Ray and then destroyed.

Syria shipped out its stockpile of chemical weapons under the terms of a UN-backed and US-Russia brokered agreement to head off Western air strikes against the regime last year.

They were taken to the converted US container ship, which will sail them into the middle of the Mediterranean over the next few days and start transforming them into a much less poisonous soup of chemicals, ready for disposal back on land, the officials said.

Experts have said the process could take between 60 to 90 days, depending on the weather.

Last month, Syria handed over the remaining 8 percent of the 1,300 tons it declared to the OPCW, which is monitoring the process.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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