Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Syrian Warfare Chemicals to Pass Through Italian Port

A Danish navy warship is seen docked at a port in Cyprus on Saturday, ahead of a Danish-Norwegian operation to remove chemical-warfare materials from Syria (Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty Images). A Danish navy warship is seen docked at a port in Cyprus on Saturday, ahead of a Danish-Norwegian operation to remove chemical-warfare materials from Syria (Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty Images).

Italy said one of its seaports would host the transfer of Syrian chemical-warfare assets onto a U.S. vessel equipped to destroy the materials, Reuters reports.

The substances would not cross through Italian territory during their move from Danish and Norwegian transport vessels to the U.S. ship, an Italian Foreign Ministry staffer said. The staffer did not specify which of its seaports would facilitate the operation.

The insider said Italy is not currently ready to play any additional part in an international effort to eliminate Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical arsenal. Assad admitted possessing chemical weapons and agreed to their destruction in September, after a nerve-gas attack weeks earlier raised the possibility of U.S. military intervention against his regime.

Assad loyalists are slated in coming weeks to deliver the country's most hazardous chemical-weapon materials across the war-torn country to the coastal city of Latakia, where they would be picked up by two transport vessels with a combined cargo capacity of 500 tons, the Associated Press reported. Upon arrival at the Syrian port, containers would be reviewed and sealed by Assad personnel and delegates of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Each container would receive a tracking device, and crew members would count the packages as they make their way onto vessels, said Commodore Torben Mikkelsen, head of the Danish-Norwegian transfer effort. Personnel would place the constituent ingredients for sarin and VX nerve agent as far from one another as possible.

The two transport ships -- possibly the the MV Taiko and the Danish cargo ship Ark Futura -- would travel under protection from the Norwegian warship HNOMS Helge Ingstad and the Danish vessel HDMS Esbern Snare, AP reported. The ships could make return trips to Syria to finish removing chemical stocks, said Henrik Holck Rasmussen, commander of the Esbern Snare.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection

    May 23, 2014

    The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.

  • Disarming Syria of Its Chemical Weapons: Lessons Learned from Iraq and Libya

    Oct. 31, 2013

    This CNS issue brief examines the lessons learned from dismantling Libya and Iraq's chemical weapons programs and what these two cases presage for disarmament in Syria. In particular, this article explores the challenges relating to ensuring material and physical security for both inspectors and the chemical weapons stockpile itself; verifying the accuracy and completeness of disclosed inventories; and developing effective monitoring and verification regimes for the long-term. The conclusion examines recommendations stemming from this analysis.

Country Profile

Flag of Syria

Syria

This article provides an overview of Syria's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →