MOSCOW, January 7 (RIA Novosti) − The first consignment of chemical weapons has left the Syrian port of Latakia on a Danish cargo vessel, the international chemical weapons watchdog said on Tuesday.
“The removal of the first consignment of priority chemicals from the Syrian Arab Republic took place today,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement on its website.
Removal of the most dangerous chemicals is part of a UN-backed deal proposed by Russia and agreed with the United States following a sarin gas attack on the territory of war-torn Syria in August.
“The chemicals were transported from two sites and loaded onto a Danish vessel which left the port of Latakia,” the OPCW statement said.
The vessel has been accompanied by naval escorts provided by Denmark and Norway, as well as Syria, Reuters reported citing the OPCW.
The removal had been scheduled to take place by December 31, but it was delayed due to Syria's ongoing civil war, technical issues and poor weather conditions.
Under the deal, Syria's chemical arsenal is to be eliminated by the middle of 2014.