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UN: First chemicals have left Syrian port

UN: First Syrian poison gas program chemicals have been shipped out of Syrian port

A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare enters a decontamination shower wearing a gas mask, while another crew member waits, during drills at...
A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare wears a protective mask which shows the reflection of the Danish cargo ship Ark Futura, during emerge...
A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare looks at the Norwegian warship "Helge Ingstad" as they pass each other during a sunset at sea between...

Syria Chemical Weapons

A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare enters a decontamination shower wearing a gas mask, while another crew member waits, during drills at...

Syria Chemical Weapons

A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare wears a protective mask which shows the reflection of the Danish cargo ship Ark Futura, during emerge...

Syria Chemical Weapons

A crew member of the Danish warship Esbern Snare looks at the Norwegian warship "Helge Ingstad" as they pass each other during a sunset at sea between...

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A United Nations diplomat says the first batch of Syrian poison gas precursor chemicals has been loaded onto a Danish cargo ship and taken out of the war-torn country.

The announcement Tuesday by Sigrid Kaag that the raw materials had been loaded onto the ship at Syria's Latakia port marked a belated but crucial step in the international operation to rid President Bashar Assad of his declared chemical weapons program by mid-year.

Kaag is the Dutch diplomat leading the joint mission by the U.N. and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to destroy Syria's chemical stockpile.