First batch of chemical weapons taken out of SyriaUpdated: 2014-01-08 22:50:54 KST
Raw materials for poison gas were loaded Tuesday onto a Danish cargo ship at Syria's port of Latakia in what is being seen as a major milestone in a plan to rid the country of its chemical arms by the middle of this year.
The UN and the international chemical weapons watchdog responsible for ensuring the weapons' destruction said the Danish ship is on course for a meeting with a U.S. navy vessel that will then take the cargo out to international waters, where it will be destroyed.
The chemicals were scheduled to be removed from Syria by December 31st, but a worsening domestic conflict, bad weather and other factors delayed the operation by a week.
Syria agreed to abandon its chemical weapons by June of this year under a deal brokered by the U.S. and Russia.
The deal came about in response to a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb last August that left at least 14-hundred civilians dead.
Since then, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been under international pressure over allegations that it used sarin nerve gas in the attack.
The weapons removal operation is taking place against the backdrop of a widening civil war and escalating infighting between rebel factions.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the war, now in its third year, has killed more than 130-thousand people.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.