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Syrian Chemical Weapons Headed for Destruction

FILE - The Ark Futura, a Danish-chartered cargo vessel which is assisting in the effort to extract Syrian chemical weapons from the country, sails in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons have been transferred onto a U.S. cargo ship that will transport them to international waters for destruction.

On Wednesday, the Danish freighter the Ark Futura, accompanied by a military helicopter, brought the weapons to the Italian port of Gioia Tauro under heavy security.

After the lethal cargo was transferred to the MV Cape Ray, the U.S. military ship headed into the open ocean, where about half of the cargo will be destroyed at sea. The rest will be destroyed at plants in the United States and Europe.

Among the cargo are supplies of mustard gas and agents used to make sarin nerve gas.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in June that the removal of the chemicals from Syria is unprecedented, because the nation is still in a state of internal armed conflict.

Syria agreed to hand over its chemical weapons in response to a United Nations agreement brokered last year.