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Third Chemical Weapons Shipment Leaves Syria

A view of the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, in the southern region of Calabria on Feb. 5, 2014. Italy approved its southern port as the transfer site for 560 tons of Syrian chemical weapons material.
A third shipment of chemical weapons material has left Syria to be destroyed as part of an internationally brokered agreement to rid the country of its chemical weapons arsenal by mid 2014.

A statement by the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says the material left the country Monday aboard a Norweigian cargo vessel accompanied by a naval escort from China, Denmark, Norway, and Russia.

The statement says that some chemical materials were also destroyed inside the country.

The OPCW has set a final deadline of June 30 for Syria to remove all its chemical weapons.

Until Monday's shipment, Syria had just sent less than five percent of its stockpile to be destroyed.

The OPCW last week called on Damascus to "pick up the pace," after they missed a February 5 deadline to move declared chemical substances out of the country.

The deal, brokered by the United States and Russia, follows last August's chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus that left hundreds dead. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied responsibility for the attack but agreed in September to hand over his chemical weapons supply.