Activists launch flotilla against Syria chemicals

Nearly 40 activists from Greece and Italy plan to launch a flotilla from the port of Hania on Crete on Friday to protest the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in the sea south of the island.

During a press conference in Hania on Thursday, organizers said their aim was to approach the US-owned Cape Ray, which is carrying vast amounts of nerve agents and mustard gas handed over to the international community by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The activists, who will set sail on three boats, expect to cover a distance of about 200 nautical miles in about 28 hours.

The campaign has received backing from local government officials. In comments on Thursday, Sfakia Mayor Pavlos Pollakis urged activists to “shout out their opposition to the dangerous experiment taking place at the expense of the Mediterranean Sea and the lives of its people.”