Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

How we can save Syria’s chlorine victims

Article by Lord Owen, published in The Telegraph, 20 May 2014

It was the use of chemical weapons in Syria – in the shape of a horrendous attack in the suburbs of Damascus in the summer of 2013 – that first stirred the world to action. Under a Russian/American deal, reached with United Nations support, the bulk of President Bashar al-Assad’s stockpile of sarin and other chemical warfare components has been satisfactorily dealt with under international supervision.

But now another horror has emerged – the use of chlorine. Tests conducted for this newspaper last month by a retired British army colonel, Hamish de Bretton Gordon, who now runs a chemical weapons consultancy, showed the presence of chlorine and ammonia in samples taken from the scene of eight recent attacks in the north-west of Syria. Witnesses reported that the bombs were dropped by helicopters: if that is true, it would suggest they were deployed by the Assad regime.

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