The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday night to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, a landmark decision aimed at taking poison gas off the battlefield in the escalating 2-and-a-half-year conflict.
The vote after two weeks of intense negotiations marked a major breakthrough in the paralysis that has gripped the council since the Syrian uprising began. Russia and China previously vetoed three Western-backed resolutions pressuring President Bashar Assad's regime to end the violence.
"Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the "strong, enforceable, precedent-setting" resolution shows that diplomacy can be so powerful "that it can peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war." Kerry said the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile will begin in November and be completed by the middle of next year.
For the first time, the council endorsed the roadmap for a political transition in Syria adopted by key nations in June 2012 and called for an international conference to be convened "as soon as possible" to implement it.
"The U.N. Security Council's vote to adopt an impasse-breaking, binding resolution to secure and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles has much broader implications than meets the eye," said CBS News' Pamela Falk, from the U.N. on Friday evening, "because it represents a U.S.-Russia "reset" in terms of dealing with the deadlock at the Council on Syria, and it mandates the creation of long-overdue international peace talks on transition in Syria."