Written by 8:50 pm Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Turkish Health Ministry Affirms Use of Fatal Nerve Agent Sarin in Syria Attack

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The chemical utilized in a recent attack that resulted in the death of multiple Syrian civilians was most probably the lethal nerve agent sarin, according to a statement released by the Turkish Health Ministry this past Thursday.

Turkish doctor-conducted autopsies on three victims lead these medical professionals to the conclusion that chemical weapons were used in a daybreak assault, which occurred on Tuesday, widely credited to the Syrian government. This confirmation provides the most concrete proof attained so far explaining why so many people died.

The statement said, “According to the preliminary results, the findings suggest that the patients were exposed to a chemical substance (sarin).”

Dozens of the victims of the strike suffered by the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun have been transported to Turkey so they can receive medical help. The World Health Organization oversaw the autopsies and the findings were further analyzed by The Hague, according to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.

It is known that sarin has previously been used by the Syrian government. As major example of such being in an August 2013 attack by the Syrian government on a densely populated Damascus suburb, which resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths—many killed in their sleep.

It is estimated that at least seventy people died in the Tuesday attack, which spectators explained as a fog of chemicals that cloaked men, women and children, causing multiple to choke, suffocate or even foam at the mouth. In Khan Sheikhiun, citizens created a list of names, which estimates that the death toll reaches eighty-three.

On Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem refuted accusations that the government had made use of chemical weapons in the past, and maintained its prior statements that it never would. Al-Moualem contested the results of the Turkish investigation, declaring that Syria had not had positive experiences with international inquiries and asserting that a reliable investigation into the attack originates from Damascus rather than Turkey.

According to the clauses laid out in 2013 facilitated by Russia, with President Bashar al-Assad as one of its main supporters, Syria was obligated to declare the chemical weapons in its ownership and hand its stockpiles over to be destroyed.

Chemical weapons inspectors have repeatedly visited Syria since then. Despite the Syrian government’s heavy restrictions on the actions of the delegation, experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons stated in May of 2015 that they had encountered traces of chemicals used to make sarin and nerve agent VX at a military research location.

The universal chemical weapons supervisor said on Thursday that it has “initiated contact” with authorities in Syria as it investigates the attack. In a declaration divulged by the Associated Press, the organization stated that it has been “collecting and analyzing information” as part of its continual information-seeking operation in Syria.

This past Wednesday, Trump accused Assad’s administration of passing “beyond a red line” with the civilian-aimed attack. He also hinted that his anti-interventionist posture in relation to the issue may be changing. However, characteristically, Trump provided little indication of what this would concretely imply once placed into effect.

The complicated conflict in Syria has stagnated a rift in the United Nations Security Council, as well as causing Western leaders to be wary of possible consequences of military intervention against Assad.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman released a statement on Tuesday declaring that Russian support for Assad is not “unconditional;” however, he urged the undertaking a complete investigation of Tuesday’s attack before the United Nations carried through with a tangible response.

The episode puts the Russian government in a difficult position as publically reproaching Assad could deal the final hit to Putin’s intricately thought-out peace process, which unites Turkey and Iran—powers in the area which have long supported opposite sides in the civil war. Meanwhile, the attack could also denote that Assad and his Iranian allies are not planning to agree to a power-sharing treaty any time soon, which would imply Putin’s proposed deal has no future anyway.

Jan Egeleand, the head United Nations humanitarian emissary for Syria, identified the attack as a potential “watershed moment” that could coerce global leaders into taking more definitive measures to assuage the “suffering of the civilians that we see every day.”

Discouragingly, however, in an interview published on Thursday, Assad persisted in claiming that his government’s sole option is a military triumph. He told Croatian newspaper, Vecernji List, “We have no choice in facing this war, and we are determined.” Assad’s comments seem to have been made prior to the Tuesday attack.

Featured Image via Wikipedia.

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