Johannesburg: The international chemical watchdog has called for Syria to speed up operations to hand over its deadly arsenal for destruction, after missing the key deadline of 31 December 2013.
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) spokesperson Michael Luhan said that Syria`s most dangerous chemicals were supposed to have left the country by end of December last year, but technical difficulties withheld the process, News24 reports.
The joint OPCW-UN mission revealed on Tuesday that the first batch of chemicals had been dispatched from Syria`s port of Latakia on a Danish vessel for destruction in international waters aboard a US Navy ship.
The "Priority One" chemicals, including mustard gas, must all be destroyed by 31 March of this year, OPCW official added.
According to the report, the Danish ship will stand offshore until more chemicals arrive at Latakia and then return to collect them.
The mission has a June deadline to complete the destruction of all of Syria`s chemical weapons, the report added.