By Ian Swanson - 10/11/13 09:57 AM EDT
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to the United Nations body charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.
U.S. strikes on Syria were averted in September after the U.S., Russia and Syria brokered a deal in which Syria would give up its chemical weapons for destruction.
More than 1,400 people were reportedly killed in Syria in a sarin gas attack in August. Syria is believed to have roughly 1,000 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve gas, according to a report in Reuters.
The Nobel Committee in Norway said events in Syria highlighted the need to do away with the weapons. It also said Russia and the United States should get rid of their own chemical weapons.
"We now have the opportunity to get rid of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. … That would be a great event in history if we could achieve that," said Thorbjørn Jagland, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
The award winner has a challenging task in destroying Syria's chemical weapons given the civil war that continues in the battle-scarred country.
Skeptics have questioned whether Syria would really cooperate in handing over its weapons, though Secretary of State John Kerry this week praised Syria's initial efforts.
The $1.25 million prize will be handed out in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10.