Category Archives: Chemical weapons

The taboo on chemical weapons has lasted a century – it must be preserved | Peter Beaumont

Whatever you think about action against Syria, it’s vital we uphold the idea that some kinds of killing are beyond the pale

At about 5pm on 22 April 1915, French and Algerian troops on the Ypres front in Belgium noticed a lull in the German artillery fire that had been targeting their lines. Bracing themselves for an expected infantry advance, they were puzzled instead to observe a greenish-yellow cloud drifting towards them, then lapping over the tops of the trenches.

A Canadian soldier, AT Hunter, who witnessed what was the first use of chlorine gas in war, described a “passive curiosity turned to active torment – a burning sensation in the head, red-hot needles in the lungs, the throat seized as by a strangler. Many fell and died on the spot. The others, gasping, stumbling with faces contorted, hands wildly gesticulating, and uttering hoarse cries of pain, fled madly through the villages and farms and through Ypres itself, carrying panic to the remnants of the civilian population.”

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Source: gad

Syria aid deliveries halted amid reports of chemical attacks

More than 90 people were killed overnight and dozens more hurt in eastern Ghouta, monitor says

Doctors and rescue workers in the besieged Syrian region of eastern Ghouta have said are struggling to cope with another intense bout of what they described as “insane” violence, in which more than 90 people were killed overnight, according to war monitors.

The airstrikes and shelling of the enclave near Damascus led to the postponement of aid deliveries to more than 300,000 people under siege, amid military advances by forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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Source: gad

The epic failure of our age: how the west let down Syria

The seven-year conflict has marked a tipping point in the balance of power between the US and Russia, and has triggered a strategic disaster whose ramifications are still playing out

It was a sunny morning on Saturday 31 August 2013 – Labor Day weekend in the US – when Barack Obama strolled into the Rose Garden of the White House. The last thing most Americans were thinking about was war in a far-off Middle Eastern country.

But Obama faced a dilemma. The decision he was about to announce would come to be seen as a defining moment for his presidency. It also marked a tipping point for the international strategic balance of power. It was a moment that would transform the civil war in Syria into the epic failure of our age.

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Source: gad