Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Kills 58

 In Foreign, opinion

A chemical weapons attack that killed at least 58, eleven of them children, in Syria’s Idlib province is being blamed on the Assad regime based on past actions. Hundreds were injured in the town of Khan Sheikhun (Khan Shaykhun). Hours later, according to Politico, a small field hospital was hit as well.

Update: The death toll has gone up and hovers anywhere from  58 to 100.

Rebel forces claim that either the Assad Regime or Russia carried out the airstrike. Russia has denied bombing anywhere in the region, as has the Assad Military.

Al-Jazeera reported:

“Locals said the attack began in the early morning, when they heard planes in the sky followed by a series of loud explosions, after which people very quickly began to show symptoms. They said they could not identify the planes. Both Syrian and Russian jets have bombed the area before.”

Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, gave this statement:

“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people including women and children is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world. These heinous actions by the Bashar Al Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution … President Obama said in 2012 he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable act.” 

The chemical agent used in the attack as not yet been identified, but the symptoms of the attack point to Sarin gas. It has been outlawed since 1997, and the use of it is considered a War Crime.

The clothing of victims can continue to exude the gas for up to 30 minutes, leading to contamination of others.

Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms.”

It is lethal, and is considered 26 times more deadly than Cyanide. It’s a particularly unpleasant way to die.

International bureaucracies

Anyone remember this from 2013 –  all Syrian chemical weapons were to be destroyed. And yet there have been around at least 3 chemical weapons attacks in the last week, although none as bad as this one.

The OPCW noted earlier this year:

This completes destruction of all chemical weapons declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.  The need to devise a technical solution for treating a number of cylinders in a deteriorated and hazardous condition had delayed the disposal process.  

Commenting on this development, the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, said: “This process closes an important chapter in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon programme as we continue efforts to clarify Syria’s declaration and address ongoing use of toxic chemicals as weapons in that country.”

Always remember: nothing is EVER what it seems:

So in fact, Syria either did not declare all their chemical weapons when they agreed to destroy them OR the rebels are using this as a setup to have Assad removed.  The barbarity of such an attack is well within the ability of either – and since Assad has done it before, he gets the blame. But the rebels have also done it in the past. The incident is under investigation.

Warning: graphic video

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susan riceziad ahmed