ROME Dec 15 Italy has agreed to provide a port
for use in the transfer of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal
between ships on the way to its destruction at sea, its Foreign
Ministry said Sunday.
Syria is due to hand over deadly toxins which can be used to
make sarin, VX gas and other lethal agents under an
international agreement forged in the wake of an attack on the
outskirts of Damascus which killed hundreds last August.
Danish and Norwegian ships will collect the toxic arsenal
from the Syrian port city of Latakia. The chemicals will be
destroyed at sea on board a specially adapted U.S. ship because
they are too dangerous to import into a country.
Until now, it was not clear how the containers of chemicals
could be transferred from the Scandinavian ships onto the U.S.
An Italian Foreign Ministry official said the use of the
port was the maximum role Italy was prepared to serve in the
operation, and that the chemicals would not touch Italian
territory at any point.
The official would not identify which port would be used.
Syria's 2-1/2-year civil war has killed at least 125,835
people, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and
over 2 million refugees have fled, often overwhelming
(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Alison Williams)