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Syria may have used military-grade nerve agent in alleged attack



Powerful images out of Syria reveal the sad impact violence has had on the nation. Some of the images in the video may be disturbing.

The Syrian government appears to have used a military-grade nerve agent in its alleged attack Tuesday in Idlib province, a flagrant violation of President Bashar Assad’s agreement to rid the country of chemical weapons stockpiles and munitions, an expert in chemical warfare said.

Assad has used chlorine gas in recent attacks, but that chemical is widely available, has been used in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State and has countless industrial uses.

“The use of sarin would be a major escalation,” said Gregory Koblentz, director of the biodefense graduate program in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Sarin is a type of lethal nerve agent.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors the international chemical weapons ban, has not determined who was responsible for the attack or the type of chemical used. The Trump administration and most Western governments accused the Assad regime of carrying out the attack, but Russia said the release of the gas was the result of a Syrian airstrike on a terrorist chemical lab.

Koblentz said the symptoms, as seen from social media and news reports, appeared to be consistent with a nerve agent. Video showed victims foaming at the mouth and writhing on the ground.

The use of a nerve agent would suggest Syria did not get rid of its…

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