A Lesser of Two Evils
By Alison Erves
Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018 at 5:17 PM PDT
On April 7th, 2018, under the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, the people of Douma, Syria, were attacked with a chemical airstrike. This left 70 of the villagers dead, most of them children, and dangerously exposed 500 more who have been admitted to hospitals with symptoms of chemical poisoning, according to the World Health Organization. Graphic news footage shows captured children foaming at the mouth with yellowing skin after being attacked with chlorine and sarin gas when it was dropped on the rebel village, according to affiliates at The Sun.
It was reported that patients displayed signs of “respiratory distress, central cyanosis, excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odour,” when examined by aid workers. Blood and urine samples from the victims also tested positive for nerve agent substances. Nerve agents are some of the most deadly chemicals on Earth, as told by The Sun, and more specifically attack the nervous system of the body and are extremely poisonous. One of the most potent and terrifying nerve agents in existence is called sarin, and it was outlawed in 1997 by the Chemical Weapons Convention and could not be used in chemical warfare. The substance is lethal, even in the smallest of doses, and especially in children, who were, a majority of the victims in the recent attack in Douma.
Though there is no direct evidence connecting Assad to the chemical attack, the regime has been accused of engaging in chemical warfare against their own people before. Over the past 6 years, there have been other reports of gas attacks in Syria. The most recent attack was just last year in April 2017 on another rebel town by the name of Khan Sheikhun which killed at least 83 people, including young children who died in excruciating pain after being attacked with poison gas. Reports of similar attacks date back to 2012, according to The Sun.
On April 13th, 2018 the United States, United Kingdom, and French forces together sent a strong message back to Assad and carried out over 100 missile airstrikes combined in what was reported by The Sun as a “one-time shot” with extreme firepower in response to the attack on the Syrian civilians. ABC News reported that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said that the ally missile strike, “hit three targets associated with the production and storage of chemical weapons: a scientific research center; a storage center for sarin and its precursor components; and a chemical weapons storage facility and command post.”
Despite facing heavy opposition from Russia, the United States along with the United Nations and France want to make it clear worldwide that the use of chemical weapons is evil and barbaric and will not be tolerated.