Italy to provide port for Syrian chemical weapons destruction
The Danish vessel that will be used to remove Syria's chemical weapons from Latakia arrived in Cyprus last week (Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP)
Italy has agreed to allow vessels carrying Syrian chemical weapons to use one of its ports to carry out the weapons destruction at sea, according to Reuters reports from Monday.
Italy's Foreign Ministry made the announcement Sunday, and added that the use of the country's port was "the maximum role that Italy was prepared to serve in the operation." Which port will be used was not included in the minister's statement.
Danish ships have already arrived in Cyprus to remove the first batch of chemical weapons from Syria's port city of Latakia. A Norwegian vessel will also be used to remove the weapons, that largely consist of deadly toxins that can be used to make sarin, VX gas and related lethal agents.
The chemicals will then somehow be transferred from the Scandinavian ships to a US vessel for their destruction. However, it is not yet clear how these chemicals will be transferred at sea.
The first batch removal is expected to take place before the end of the year.
Syria's chemical weapons capabilities first garnered widespread international attention in August after a chemical attack near Syria's capital killed hundreds as part of the country's ongoing civil war.