News / Middle East

Pentagon: US Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria's Worst Chemical Arms

FILE - A U.S. Marine officer walks past the Field Deployable Hidrolysis System (FDHS) of the U.S. MV Cape Ray ship docked at the naval airbase in Rota, near Cadiz, southern Spain.
FILE - A U.S. Marine officer walks past the Field Deployable Hidrolysis System (FDHS) of the U.S. MV Cape Ray ship docked at the naval airbase in Rota, near Cadiz, southern Spain.
Reuters

A specially equipped U.S. ship has finished neutralizing all 600 metric tons of the most dangerous of Syria's chemical weapons components surrendered to the international community this year to avert threatened airstrikes, the Pentagon said on Monday.

It said the Cape Ray, equipped with the U.S.-developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, neutralized 581.5 metric tons of DF, a sarin precursor chemical, and 19.8 metric tons of HD, an ingredient of sulfur mustard, while afloat in the Mediterranean.

The vessel will travel to Finland and Germany in the next two weeks to unload the resulting effluent, which will undergo treatment as industrial waste to render it safer, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

It was the first time chemical weapons components had been neutralized at sea, the Pentagon said.

U.S. President Barack Obama says the destruction of the last of Syria's declared chemical stockpile is a major milestone in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The operation was finished weeks ahead of schedule.

Obama says the job performed by civilian and military experts on the MV Cape Ray sends a clear message that using these weapons has consequences and will not be tolerated by the international community.

The president says the U.S. will watch Syria closely to see it it carries out its commitment to destroy its remaining chemical weapons production facilities.

Damascus agreed last September to a Russian proposal to give up its chemical weapons to avert threatened military strikes by the United States and France, which accused Syria of using the arms against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

A number of countries are involved in eliminating the chemical stockpiles. The United States was selected to dispose of the worst of the chemical weapons components because it had recently developed a mobile version of the hydrolysis system it uses for neutralizing chemical stockpiles.

The system uses substances and mixtures such as water, sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite to neutralize bulk amounts of chemical warfare agents, according to the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

Earlier this year, the hydrolysis system was placed aboard the Cape Ray, a 648-foot (198-meter) vessel that is part of the U.S. Maritime Administration's ready reserve force of 46 ships.

The ship was held at Rota, Spain, for several months due to Syrian delays in handing over its declared stockpiles of chemical agents. The Cape Ray began neutralizing the chemicals after picking them up from Italy in late June. 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs