WASHINGTON - US container ship Cape Ray began neutralizing chemical materials on Monday that were once part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's weapons arsenal, the Pentagon said.

The ship, in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, began processing about 600 metric tonnes of chemical weapons and raw materials that could be used in them, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters.

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The US government has said the materials include mustard gas and components for the nerve agent sarin.

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