The final containers of chemical weapons were loaded on the Danish ship Ark Futura in the port of Latakia under the watchful eye of naval vessels from Denmark, Norway, China, Russia and the UK. The weapons will now be transferred to a US ship for destruction.
With the removal of the final containers, all of Syria’s reported 1,290 metric tonnes of chemical weapons are now out of the country.
“This was a vitally important mission with a large focus from the international community,” the defence minister, Nicolai Wammen, said in a statement. “During the entire mission we have had a strong Nordic co-operation with Sweden, Finland and most of all Norway, which like Denmark provided a transport ship and military escort ship.”
Denmark accepted a request from the UN in November 2013 to transport the chemical weapons out of Syria as part of a deal struck by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Syria missed two deadlines set forth by the deal and the destruction process is now expected to take two months, meaning the June 30 deadline reached in a US-Russia agreement will also be missed.
Despite the various delays, Wammen said he was pleased with the Danish effort.
“With the mission in Syria, Denmark has, as an active part of the global community, done our part to prohibit further horrific chemical attacks like the one we witnessed against the Syrian people in August 2013 in which nearly 1,400 civilian Syrians were killed,” he said.