Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels, US says

  • 9 years ago
White house officials announced on Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons on a small scale against rebel forces in Syria's civil war, according to a Reuters report.

The U.S. government acquired blood, urine and hair samples from Syrian rebels involved in a firefight with Syrian government troops. The samples revealed the rebels had been exposed to the deadly nerve agent sarin. Nerve agents such as sarin are typically delivered via a binary shell which contains two component chemicals. Upon firing, the rupture discs separating the chemicals break. The spinning of the shell mixes the chemicals together to form the toxic agent which is released upon impact. Sarin can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. Once inside the body sarin attacks the central nervous system, bringing an agonizing death to those exposed to large doses.

According to a Reuters report citing a source familiar with the matter, President Obama has authorized for the first time sending weapons to Syrian opposition troops.


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