First quantity of chemical weapon materials leave Syria

The first ship carrying Syrian chemical weapon materials left Syria on Tuesday, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. Joint Mission in Syria.

Sigrid Kaag, the special coordinator for the mission, made the remarks on Tuesday as part of a statement from the mission. The critical chemical weapons material will be destroyed at sea with the help of a team of partners from around the world.

"A first quantity of priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the port of Latakia for verification and was then loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel today," Kaag said.

After being accompanied by naval escorts from Norway, Denmark and Syria, the ship sailed for international waters where it will remain until additional priority chemical materials arrive at the port of Latakia.

"This movement initiates the process of transfer of chemical materials from the Syrian Arab Republic to locations outside its territory for destruction," Kaag said.

Maritime security for the commercial vessel is being provided by escorts from Russia, Norway, Denmark and China.

While Syria's chemical weapons were to be transported out of Syria to ensure their destruction no later than June 30, 2014, the joint mission said it will not meet that deadline due to technical difficulties.