Preparations begin in Cyprus to remove first part of Syria's chemical weapon stockpile

Published December 14th, 2013 - 06:14 GMT
The Danish vessel that will be used to destroy Syria's chemical weapons arrived in Cyprus Saturday (Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP)
The Danish vessel that will be used to destroy Syria's chemical weapons arrived in Cyprus Saturday (Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP)

A Danish task force began preparations Saturday in Cyprus to remove the first part of Syria's chemical arms stockpile, according to Reuters.


Denmark and Norway have already agreed to transport Syria's chemical weapons via two of their own cargo vessels from Syria's port city of Latakia to an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission for destruction.


The deadliest chemical weapons are expected to be shipped out of Syria by the end of this year, according to the report, but Commodore Torben Mikkelsen, the Danish commander of the task force told Reuters that, "The timing is another matter and it is related to a lot of other uncertainties right now but we are preparing to be ready as fast as possible. "


OPCW announced last week that the ongoing conflict in the country may delay the chemical removal deadlines set under the OPCW timeline agreed to between Damascus and the UN chemical watchdog in early November.


The weapons will allegedly be destroyed through hydrolysis processes that will neutralise the weapons once they are moved to sea vessels.  US defence officials previously reported that trials were held to test the planned hydrolysis processes.


Officers told Reuters that the task force would "go as many times as it takes" to remove the toxins from Syria.


The OPCW was tasked with the oversight of the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons following a US-Russia brokered deal with Damascus after August chemical attacks near Syria's capital killed hundreds of civilians.


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