Skip to main content

Chinese ship arrives to help in removal of Syrian chemical weapons materials

By Khushbu Shah and Jason Hanna, CNN
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Chinese ship follows a Danish ship that took away the first load Tuesday
  • The OPCW and the U.N. are dismantling Syria's chemical weapons arsenal
  • They plan to be finished by the end of June
  • Syria agreed to the measure after being blamed for chemical attack that killed hundreds

(CNN) -- A Chinese ship arrived to escort ships picking up chemical weapons materials from Syria on Tuesday, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.

The frigate Yancheng is working closely with other ships from Russia and Europe, the agency reported, citing a Beijing Foreign Ministry statement.

The international effort to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons program reached a milestone Tuesday when a Danish commercial ship picked up the first batch of important chemical materials, the group overseeing the work said.

The "priority chemical materials" loaded at the Syrian port of Latakia, and the ship -- escorted by Danish and Norwegian warships -- left for international waters, the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations said Tuesday.

How does Syrian conflict affect region?

The ship will remain at sea until more chemical materials are made available at the Latakia port for pickup. The chemicals eventually will be taken to locations outside Syria for destruction, the group said.

Tuesday's move comes a week after a deadline for the first chemical materials to leave Syria. The mission blamed the delay on "the continuing volatility in overall security conditions" and on "logistical challenges coupled with inclement weather."

Syria's chemical weapons are targeted for removal and elimination by the end of June.

Syria agreed to have its program dismantled under international pressure last year over allegations the Syrian government used sarin nerve gas in an August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb. U.S. officials said at least 1,400 people died in the attack. Syria denied responsibility, blaming rebel forces.

READ: Syria milestone: Chemical weapons materials on ship for destruction

Syria chemical weapons teams show how science can boost peace

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT